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Numerous measures have been announced recently to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 to the society, businesses and economy. Some of the measures are summarised below. We will be updating this page from time to time.

As at June 2020, the Government has announced three Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) and one National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, support the businesses and strengthen the nation’s economy as follows:

  1. Announcement dated 18 August 2020
    The Prime Minister of Malaysia launched RM500 million ‘Sukuk Prihatin’, one of the initiatives under the National Economic Recovery Plan that allows a minimum investment of RM500, with no maximum limit.  The bond was issued following requests from various quarters to contribute towards the country’s economic recovery effort
  2. Ministry of Health Guidelines COVID-19 Management in Malaysia dated 16 June 2020
    • The portal provides a set of standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of Health amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
  1. Announcement dated 15 June 2020
    • The Ministry of Works issued a standard operating procedure for the construction industry applicable during Recovery Movement Control Order. FAQ addressing the queries arising from the SOP is available here.
  1. Announcement dated 9 June 2020
  1. The National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) or PENJANA (5 June 2020) amounting to RM35 billion covers three key thrusts – Empower People, Propel Businesses and Stimulate the Economy.
    • The initiatives include measures to:
      • Secure employments
      • Reduce business burdens
      • Relief SME’s cash-flow burdens
      • Accelerate Digitalisation
      • Stimulate Investments
    • The summaries and full speech of the NERP announcement are available here.
  1. PRIHATIN SME Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN SME+) (6 April 2020) amounting to RM10 billion
    • It includes measures to:
      • Reduce SME cash-flow burdens
      • Reduce business commitment rates
      • Secure employments
      • Easing business requirements
    • The summaries and full speech of the ESP announcement is available here.
  1. Economic Stimulus Package 2 (27 March 2020) amounting to RM250 billion
    • It includes measures to:
      • Reduce business burdens during COVID-19
      • Secure employments
      • Increase private consumption
      • Reduce the rate of private commitments
    •  The summaries and full speech of the ESP announcement is available here.
  1.  Economic Stimulus Package 1 (27 February 2020) amounting to RM20 billion
    • It includes measures to:
      • Ease cash flow for businesses
      • Boost private consumption
      • Promote investments
      • Develop human capital
      • Protect employees from COVID-19
    • The summaries and full speech of the ESP announcement is available here.

Relief measures announced by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to ease the cost burden of capital market participants as well as complement the wider relief effort under the ESPs and economic recovery plan as listed below:

  1. Announcement dated 13 August 2020
    The SC will temporarily increase the gearing limit for Malaysian real estate investment trusts (M-REITs) from 50% to 60%, effective immediately, until 31 December 2022. The temporary increase in gearing limit will provide M-REITs greater cash flow flexibility and allow M-REIT managers to manage their REIT’s debt and capital structures more efficiently, especially in light of the challenging operating environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. Announcement dated 10 July 2020
    The SC and Bursa Malaysia are implementing temporary revisions to existing market management and control mechanisms for a six-month period from 20 July 2020 to 18 January 2021. This include (1) Revised Static and Dynamic Price Limits for FBMKLCI Component Stocks, and (2) Revised Circuit Breaker Trigger Levels. The decision for these precautionary measures took into account global market conditions that remain volatile amidst persistent uncertainties due to Covid-19, continued economic weaknesses and the re-escalation of geopolitical tension.
  1. Announcement dated 18 June 2020
    • A third version of the Guidance and FAQs on the Conduct of General Meetings for Listed Issuers was released pursuant to the issuance of the standard operating procedure “SOP Am Pelaksanaan Majlis Kerajaan dan Swasta” by the Malaysian National Security Council on 16 June 2020. This Guidance Note is applicable to all issuers listed on Bursa Malaysia on the conduct of general meetings, including Annual General Meeting (AGM), Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and Meeting of Unit Holders during a period when the RMCO is in place or outside of the RMCO period. This includes the conduct of fully virtual, hybrid and physical general meetings. The Guidance Note will be updated as and when required to ensure that they are aligned with the Government’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Any query in relation to this Guidance Note can be directed to [email protected]. There is a survey on the conduct of fully virtual general meeting:
  1. Announcement dated 8 May 2020
    • To minimise the risk of COVID-19 at the workplaces while dealing with employees, agents, and external parties, the SC released the Guidance on COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures outlines the health and safety measures, and steps to be taken by a capital market participant (CMP) in planning and managing the return of its operations to full capacity.
  1. Announcement dated 9 April 2020
    • The fund management and unit trust management companies are reminded on their obligations to act in the best interest of investors at all times and to ensure fair treatment of their clients. SC’s expectations of Capital Market Services Licence (CMSL) holders managing investors’ monies and funds are listed here
  1. Announcement dated 7 April 2020
    • Securities Commission Malaysia’s Audit Oversight Board emphasised the need for high quality audit in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  1. Announcement dated 26 March 2020
    • Margin financing flexibilities for capital market participants
      • Brokers may, at their discretion, not make margin calls or impose haircuts on any collateral and securities purchased and carried in margin accounts. They are also empowered to exercise their discretion whether or not to impose force selling measures on clients.
      • Previously, brokers were required to automatically liquidate clients’ margin accounts if the equity in those accounts falls below 130% of the outstanding balance.
      • The SC has also approved a broader list of accepted collaterals for margin financing. With this flexibility, brokers can now accept other collaterals, such as bonds, unit trusts, gold and immovable properties to maintain their clients’ margin accounts, and value these collaterals accordingly.
      • All the above, which takes effect 27 March – 30 September 2020, are subject to brokers meeting their own capital adequacy ratio and shareholder funds as required by Bursa Malaysia. They are also expected to exercise discretion in accordance with their own credit risk policies.
  1. Announcement dated 24 March 2020
    • Waiver of the SC’s annual licensing fees for 2020 on the core regulated activity of all Capital Markets Services Licence (CMSL) entities with Profit Before Tax of RM5 million or less during Financial Year 2019. A qualifying CMSL entity who has already made the payment prior to this announcement will be offered a credit to offset next year’s licensing fees.
    • Waiver of the annual licensing fees for the Year 2020 for all individual CMSL holders and Capital Markets Services Representative’s Licence (CMSRL) holders. A qualifying CMSRL holder who has already made the payment prior to this announcement will be offered a credit to offset next year’s licensing fees.
    • Reduction of the minimum Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements to 10 CPE points from the current 20 CPE points effective 1 July 2020 for a period of 12 months for all CMSRL holders and Employees of Registered Persons (ERPs).
    • Reduction of the minimum training requirements to three days from the current five days effective 1 July 2020 for a period of 12 months for Trading Representatives and Marketing Representatives.
    • One-off training subsidy for existing registered firms of Audit Oversight Board (AOB) with less than 10 audit partners, up to RM30,000 per firm for Approved Training Programmes conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA).

More COVID-19 Related Announcements by the SC is available here.

Bursa Malaysia relief measures are targeted to a broader group of participants within the capital market. These measures are designed to help lessen the financial burden and provide greater flexibility in navigating the challenging period posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Details as below:

  1. Announcement dated 22 June 2020
    Two new features were added to the mobile application “Bursa Anywhere”: application of new Central Depository Services (“CDS”) accounts and e-Dividends. While the CDS accounts offers new and existing investors the convenience of applying for new CDS accounts remotely; e-Dividend subscription feature allows users to receive cash dividend entitlements via e-payments instead of cheques. In addition, for both new releases, all registration fees will also be waived for one-month starting 22 June 2020.
  1. Circular dated 26 March 2020
    • Rebate of 50% of the annual listing fees for the year 2020 for qualified listed issuers
    • Extension of time to submit regularisation plan for PN17/GN3 and 8.03A Listed Issuers
    • Automatic 1-month extension to submit financial statements
    • Greater flexibility for brokers to manage margin accounts
    • Expanding the list of collaterals for purposes of margin financing
    • Shortened counter service hours by market participants following the Movement Control Order
    • Extension of time for submission of CDS transaction forms to Bursa Malaysia
    • Details of the reliefs as stated here and its press release.
  1. Circular dated 17 March 2020
    • Application for extension of time to hold Annual General Meeting (AGM) for listed corporations and listed REITs
    • Application for extension of time for submission of quarterly report
    • Details of the reliefs as stated here.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced a number of regulatory and supervisory measures to allow banking institutions to remain focused on supporting the economy during these exceptional and unprecedented circumstances, by providing flexibility for banking institutions to respond swiftly to the needs of their customers.

  1. Announcement dated 30 July 2020
    The PENJANA Tourism Fund has been setup to assist Malaysian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector affected by the pandemic. Eligible microenterprises and SMEs may apply for financing up to RM75,000 and RM300,000 respectively, with a financing rate of up to 3.5% per annum for a financing tenure of up to 7 years.

    Tips for SMEs
    Short videos from BNM’s past webinars BNM (in Bahasa Malaysia):

      1. Apakah tip-tip untuk PKS dalam menguruskan kewangan perniagaan?
      2. Apakah nasihat kepada PKS untuk menguruskan perniagaan dalam norma baharu?
      3. Apakah yang anda perlu tahu mengenai moratorium secara automatik?
      4. Bagaimana kita harus menghadapi tamatnya tempoh moratorium?
      5. Bagaimana bank boleh membantu anda dalam pelan bayaran balik pinjaman?
  1. Consolidated BNM COVID-19 Assistance Information Portal (16 April 2020)
    • BNM has created a consolidated information portal on COVID-19 assistance by the central bank and financial institutions:
      1. Individuals;
      2. SMEs
      3. Corporates
  1. Additional Measures to Further Support SMEs and Individuals Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak (27 March 2020)
    • Enhancements to Financing Facilities to Assist Affected SMEs, Safeguard Jobs and Support Growth
    • Programme to Support the B40 Segment in Generating Sustainable Income and Achieve Financial Resilience (iTEKAD)
    • Relief measures for affected policyholders and takaful participants
      • Deferment of payment of life insurance premiums and family takaful contributions
      • Extension of flexibilities to reinstate or preserve life insurance and family takaful protection
      • Flexibility to meet general insurance premiums and general takaful contributions
      • Expedited claims processing
      • Additional Regulatory and Supervisory Measures
      • Details of the measures as stated here.
  1. Measures to Assist Individuals, SMEs and Corporates Affected by COVID-19 (25 March 2020)
    • Deferment and restructuring of loans/financing facilities
      • Loans/financing to individuals and SMEs: Deferment of all loan/financing repayments for a period of 6 months, with effect from 1 April 2020 and conversion of credit card payments into a 3-year term loan with reduced interest rates.
      • Loans/financing to corporations: Allow corporation to defer/restructure their loans/financing repayment in a way that will enable viable corporations to preserve jobs and swiftly resume economic activities when conditions improve.
    • Liquidity conditions in Banking system
      • Supply daily ringgit liquidity to banks
      • Reduction in Statutory Reserve Requirement ratio by 100 basis points
    • Other supervisory and prudential services
    • Details of the measures as stated here.

Refer here for FAQ.

By PERKESO

As announced in the Economic Stimulus Package:

  1. Wage Subsidy Programme
    • Companies whom have subscribed to Employment Insurance System (EIS) and experiencing declining revenue of more than 50% since 1st January 2020 may consider to apply for Subsidy Programme from 1st April 2020 here.
    • As announced in the Prihatin SME+ on 6 April,  the wage subsidy programme has now been expanded from RM5.9bil to RM13.8bil. According to the Ministry of Human Resources FAQ, the applications will be open until 15 September but it may close earlier when the funds are fully allocated. Refer to Prihatin Perkeso for further information.
  1. Employment Retention Programme
    • This Programme is an immediate financial assistance provided for employees who have been instructed to take no paid leave by their employers who are economically affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the title for more details on the assistance provided, eligibility conditions and application procedures.

By the Inland Revenue Board

  1. Announcement dated 12 Aug 2020

The IRB has recently published an updated version of the “Frequently Asked Questions on International Tax Issues due to the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions” (FAQs) document covering the questions on the following:

  1. Residency status for individuals and companies;
  2. Creation of permanent establishments (PEs) for companies; and
  3. Cross-border employment income for individuals
  1. Announcement dated 15 June 2020

The refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to taxpayers will commence from 22 June 2020 and is expected to complete by December 2020. IRB is adopting “pay first and field audit later for the selected companies“, based on the GST (Repeal) Act 2018 and other conditions.

  1. Announcement dated 3 June 2020
    The latest deadlines to file various income tax return forms by individuals and companies are available here.
  1. Due to the extension of MCO to 14 April 2020, Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has updated their Frequent Ask Question (FAQ’s) document. The new document reflects on the extended MCO period and submissions and/or payments that now commence from 15 April 2020 for businesses to take note.The summaries below have good explanations of IRB updated FAQs:

By the Royal Malaysian Customs Department

Some of the initiatives and measures announced by the Royal Malaysian Customs as below:

  1. Any Return and payment due by 31st March 2020 has been extended to 30th April 2020. Any penalties involved payments before or due on 30th April will be exempted and payment via online services is encouraged.
  2. Import duty and sales tax exemption for medical, laboratories, personal protective equipment and consumables donated to the Ministry of Health for COVID-19 purposes. (Announcement and List of items). For more update on the exemption, please refer to MySST Portal.
  3. Official system for service tax on digital service (MySToDS) has been started since 1st April 2020 for the purpose of registration, submission of return, and paying taxes. A New Guide on Digital Services by Foreign Service Provider (FSP) is now available.
  4. Import duty, excise duty and sales tax exemption are also applicable to undenatured ethyl alcohol and denatured ethyl alcohol for hand sanitizer productions now.  More details here.
  5. Filing of applications for review can be made via email during the period of the MCO to the Director General of Customs under section 143 of the Customs Act 1967, section 47 of the Excise Act 1976, section 96 of the Sales Tax Act 2018, section 81 of the Services Tax Act 2018 and Section 59 of the Levy Relief Act 2019.  Refer to their announcement here.
  6. The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Customs) made an announcement on 29 May 2020 that all penalty payments received by 30 June 2020 (instead of the earlier due date of 31 May 2020) will be fully remitted:
    1. Sales Tax or Service Tax via Statement SST-02
    2. Import Service Tax via Form SST-02A
    3. Tourism Tax via Statement TTx-03
    4. Departure Levy via Statement DL-02

By Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)

  1. Announcement dated 21 August 2020 In support of the Government initiatives to ease the economic pressures faced by the corporate community arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCM granted the following
    • Extension of time for lodgement and circulation of the financial statements and reports for companies with financial year ending “AFTER 31 August 2019 to 31 March 2020
    • Waiver of the application fee of RM100 for each application respectively in accordance with the powers under Regulation 8(4) of CR 2017
    • Application for extension of time shall be addressed to [email protected] by 30 June 2020

    Companies with financial year ending “AFTER 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020” can submit their applications to CCM by 30 September 2020.

  1. SSM has resumed the EzBiz Online Portal services starting on 30th March 2020. The EzBiz Portal allows new business registration, renewal of registrations, and termination and change of business information (except for changes made to residential addresses and business owners). Other online services to access company and business information through SSM e-Info and My Data-SSM is also available since 28th March 2020.
  1. The Securities Commission Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia and SSM announced on 17 March 2020 measures to allow flexibility on the timing of annual general meeting (AGM) for a listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and issuance of quarterly and annual reports by a corporation that is listed on the Main Market or the Ace Market of the Exchange. Please refer to the SSM FAQ, Bursa Malaysia’s circular and the news here for more details. The link provided to the SSM’s statement in Bursa Malaysia’s circular dated 17 March 2020 does not appear to be functioning. The requirements set out in the SSM’s Practice Note 3/2018 may be relevant.
  1. SSM made an announcement on 2 April that MyCoID Portal has been reactivated. These are the transactions can be done through the portal:
    1. User registration;
    2. Company name search and application
    3. Incorporation of Company (Inc);
    4. Appointment of the First Company Secretary (AFC);
    5. Lodgement of Constitution (LoC);
    6. Change of the Registered Address (CRA);
    7. Change in the Register of Directors, Managers and Secretaries (CPO);
    8. Return of Allotment of Shares (RoA);
    9. Registers of Members (ROM); and
    10. Reassignment of Company Secretary (RAC).
  1. SSM has compiled a list of FAQs in relation to government’s movement control order to contain Covid-19 here:
  1. Announcement dated 12 June2020
      The 30-day Moratorium for the submission of statutory documents to SSM will commence from the date the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) ends. As such, all transactions under the Companies Act 2016 and the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2012 that were not able to be lodged or submitted due to the movement control orders must be submitted to the Registrar after the end of the RMCO on 31 August 2020, subject to any latest announcement by the government.

By the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)

  1. Announcement dated 16 June 2020
    MITI announced an automatic 12-month extension to manufacturing companies that have been granted Manufacturing Licence under the Industrial Coordination Act 1975 but have been unable to complete their projects their approved projects within a period as stipulated in the approval letter for a manufacturing licence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies are required to apply to MIDA by completing an online from 16 June 2020 until 31 May 2021. For more information, please contact [email protected]
  1. Additional Economic Sector Allowed to Operate during Extended MCO
    • On 10 April 2020, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the extension of MCO up to 28 April 2020 to further flatten the COVID-19 Pandemic curve. Following the extension announcement, MITI has announced the additional sectors allowed to operate during the MCO and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to adhere to. Click here for the summary of SOPs and application procedures prepared by EY. MITI’s FAQ here provides additional information and clarification on other matters which were not addressed in the SOPs.

By Employees Provident Fund (EPF)

Announcement dated 13 May 2020

EPF has further extended the date for employers to remit their contribution for the salary of the months of May 2020 until July 2020, from the 15th to the 30th of each month respectively.

By SME CORP

  1. Announcement dated 1st July 2020

As announced in the PENJANA, merger and acquisition (‘M&A’) of SMEs will be exempted from stamp duty. This relief is available for eligible M&A transactions undertaken from 1 July 2020 until 30 June 2021 and applicable to all sectors.

SME Corp also released several measures to assist small medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the Covid-19:

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

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