16 Types of Govt Financial Aid for M’sian SMEs in 2021, and Where to Apply for Them

Since the MCO in 2020, the government has launched multiple initiatives to help individuals and businesses cope with their financial burdens.

Here, we’ve narrowed down a list of reliefs for SMEs that are currently available or open for applications in 2021, based on information we had. They were announced under Budget 2021PERMAI, PENJANA, and PEMERKASA economic stimulus packages.

Hopefully, they can help Malaysian entrepreneurs and SMEs stay afloat while the country progresses with its mass vaccination programme.

1. Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP 3.0)

Objective: To help businesses cope with payroll difficulties from MCO.

What it is: Under the WSP 3.0, employers, regardless of sector, can receive a subsidy of RM600 per employee earning under RM4,000 per month, for up to a maximum of 500 employees.

For businesses part of the tourism or retail sector, the WSP will be for 6 months for new applicants or another 3 months for existing WSP recipients. 

A one-off financial assistance of up to RM600 will be given to homestay businesses registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) as well, under PEMERKASA.

Where To Apply: PERKESO.

Effective From: January 1, 2021. 

Beneficiaries: All businesses.

2. Targeted Loan Repayment Assistance (TRA)

Objective: Delaying loan repayment for SMEs whose incomes were affected by the pandemic.

What It Is: SMEs with a loan amount of up to RM150,000 can defer monthly instalments for 3 months or reduce monthly instalments by 50% for 6 months.

Where To Apply: The respective banks you loaned from.

Application Duration: November 2020 to June 30, 2021.

Beneficiaries: All SMEs.

3. COVID-19 Screening Test Programme

Objective: To increase screening amongst employees to curb the spread of COVID-19 .

What It Is: The cost of screening for registered foreign workers will be borne fully by SOCSO to identify possible COVID-19 clusters at the workplace. 

Local employees will have to bear the costs themselves and can claim an RM1,000 relief for their individual income tax relief.

Where To Apply: PERKESO.

Effective From: February 2, 2021.

Beneficiaries: All registered foreign employees.

4. PERMAI Special Prihatin Grant (GKP)

Objective: To provide additional financial assistance to SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs. 

What It Is: An extension of the GKP 1.0 and 2.0 last year, where SMEs who’ve previously registered will receive a one-off payment.

The amount of the one-off assistance under the grant are as follows:

  • SMEs registered in states under the MCO: RM1,000
  • SMEs registered in other states: RM500

For those who’ve never received this grant before, they can apply for it starting from April 1, 2021. This grant is predicted to benefit over a million businesses in the nation.

Financial assistance of RM1,000 will also be given through the GKP for traders and hawkers in Sabah.

Where To Apply: New applicants can apply here.

Effective From: March 2021.

Beneficiaries: SMEs who’ve previously registered for the GKP, and new applicants.

5. SME Digitisation Grant

Objective: To assist SMEs in adopting digitisation services in day-to-day business operations.

What It Is: A grant of up to RM5,000 will be provided for SMEs that qualify for a subscription to digitisation services. This is meant to enhance the business’s competitiveness in the market and productivity.

Each grant is limited to 1 application per SME. Companies can apply for up to 3 types of digitisation services with 1 or more service providers registered with MDEC.

For SMEs in the manufacturing and service sectors, there’s also a Smart Automation Grant (SAG) to digitise parts of the business operations.

Where To Apply: SME Bank.

Grant Availability: 5 years from February 17, 2020 or upon reaching 100,000 applications, whichever comes first.

Beneficiaries: SMEs looking to digitise their businesses.

6. Boosting Online Businesses

Objective: To facilitate more SMEs in adopting e-commerce and e-payment whilst expanding their market outreach.

What It Is: Local businesses and individuals with or without business registrations can receive e-commerce and e-payment onboarding training, seller subsidy, and sales support. 

Where To Apply: MDEC Official Website.

Beneficiaries: All SMEs and e-commerce sellers.

7. MARA Business Payment Rescheduling

Objective: To continue the MARA PRIHATIN Peace Of Mind moratorium for businesses and students.

What It Is: Entrepreneurs who’ve taken a loan from MARA and have been affected by the MCO and floods are eligible for this moratorium. Borrowers will get a grace period of 3 months for their repayments starting from the month of the application’s approval.

In addition, a 30% discount on MARA business premise rentals will be available until April 2021.

Where To Apply: MARA.

Effective From: November 2020 to April 2021.

Beneficiaries: MARA entrepreneurs.

8. Electricity Bill Support

Objective: To alleviate business cash flow burdens for sectors who couldn’t operate during MCO.

What It Is: A 10% discount is given to 6 affected sectors including hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, domestic flight company offices, and tour agencies. 

Those who’ve received the 15% discount from 2020’s Economic Stimulus Package are automatically eligible for the above discount under PERMAI.

Furthermore, up to a 9% bill reduction will be applied for all users.

Where To Apply: New applicants who are TNB customers can​ email TNB’s Careline (tnbcareline@tnb.com.my) or visit the nearest Kedai Tenaga.

Effective From: January to June 2021.

Beneficiaries: All TNB users.

9. Penjana Kerjaya 2.0

Objective: To promote the creation of quality jobs and reduce unemployment among locals.

What It Is: Under the Penjana Kerjaya initiative, employers will be given an additional incentive of 60% (≤RM6,000). It’s meant to encourage job opportunities for people with disabilities, those who are unemployed long-term, and workers who have been terminated.

For sectors that have a high reliance on foreign workers, a special incentive of 60% of the monthly salary will be provided.

40% (≤RM4,000) of that will be channelled directly to employers, and 20% (≤RM2,000) for their “Malaysianisation” programme. It essentially encourages employers to hire locals to replace foreign workers. These incentives will last for a period of 6 months.

Employers who hire talents under Penjana Kerjaya can also claim a maximum of RM7,000 for a staff’s training programme/apprenticeship. This only applies to those with employees undergoing a professional certificate programme.

Where To Apply: PERKESO.

Application Duration: January 1 to June 30, 2021.

Beneficiaries: All businesses.

10. PEMERKASA’s Additional Employment Incentives

Objective: To provide additonal incentives for companies hiring gig workers.

What It Is: Under PEMERKASA, the government is expanding its scope of employment incentives to include temporary and gig work:

  • 60,000 workers will be incentivised with RM600 each per month for 6 months,
  • Every employer will receive RM200 for every gig worker they successfully hire to cover temporary work,
  • An apprenticeship subsidy of RM800 per month extended from 3 months to 6 months,
  • Creation of the UpskillMalaysia and e-LaTiH platforms as an upskilling information centre and 300 free training courses respectively.

Where To Apply: TBA.

Effective From: TBA.

Beneficiaries: Employers who hire gig workers.

11. Incentivising Women Entrepreneurs

Objective: To incentivise and facilitate women who aspire to become entrepreneurs.

What It Is: The DanaNITA financing schemes will help intensify women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities. It can also help empower existing women entrepreneurs and increase their household income.

There is also the Ar-Rahnu Micro-Credit Programme, a channel to raise capital for women’s businesses. It’s where women who have no access to financial loans can trade their gold or valuable jewellery for capital instead.

Additionally, an allocation of RM10 million in the form of a 70% matching fund for women entrepreneurs and self-employed women will also be provided under SOCSO’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme.

Where To Apply: Apply online at myusahawan or at a MARA District Office.

Application Duration: Varies depending on the programme.

Beneficiaries: Women entrepreneurs.

12. Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI)

Objective: To help Indian entrepreneurs who run micro-businesses expand.

What It Is: Through TEKUN, Indian entrepreneurs can get a Small Financing Scheme (RM10,000-RM50,000) or Medium Financing Scheme (RM50,000-RM100,000). Their repayment timelines are 5 and 10 years respectively.

There’s also a TEKUN Niaga financing scheme for Bumiputra entrepreneurs who run micro-businesses.

Where To Apply: TEKUN Nasional.

Beneficiaries: Indian and Bumiputra micro-entrepreneurs.

13. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Financing Scheme

Objective: To support the government’s efforts in implementing 17 SDGs under the United Nation 2030 development agenda.

What It Is: Funding will be provided to eligible businesses whose operations contribute positively to 1 of the 17 SDGs. They include developing affordable and clean energy, gender equality in the workplace, promoting sustainable industrialisation, etc.

Where To Apply: Call Business Banking Group 03-2611 3888 for more information.

Loans Disbursement: Within 7 working days from the date of acceptance.

Beneficiaries: Businesses meeting United Nations’ SDGs.

14. Supporting New Startup Launches 

Objective: To encourage the establishment of new SMEs.

What It Is: SMEs who register and start their operations from July 1, 2020 until December 31, 2021 can claim tax rebates of up to RM20,000 per year. This will be applicable for 3 assessment years.

Under PEMERKASA, the fundraising limits will be increased from RM10 million to RM20 million. Equity crowdfunding will also be extended to unlisted limited companies.

SSM has also agreed to increase the indebtedness threshold from RM10,000 to RM50,000. Free business registration is also available to the B40 group and full-time IPT students looking to venture into entrepreneurship.

Where To Apply: Claim it while filing your company taxes.

Effective From: 3 years after the launch of the company.

Beneficiaries: Newly launched companies.

15. Working Capital Guarantee Scheme (SJMK)

Objective: To assist SMEs in all sectors in accessing funding from participating Financial Institutions (FIs).

What It Is: RM17.5 billion has been allocated to the SJMK, a government funding for SMEs in various industries. Funds must be used for working capital or CAPEX only. It cannot be used to refinance existing facilities granted by the same or other participating FIs. There is a financing limit of up to RM100,000 to RM10 million for this scheme.

Specifically for Bumiputras, there is also a dedicated SJMK-B.

Where To Apply: Participating banks.

Application Duration: From now until the full utilisation of the WCGS fund of RM17.5 billion, or upon expiry of guarantee tenure on December 31, 2035, whichever is earlier (according to Maybank).

Beneficiaries: All SMEs.

16. Safe@Work Initiative

Objective: For employers to be responsible in providing a conducive work environment and place to stay for their workers.

What It Is: Companies, especially those in the manufacturing industry will be granted RM500,000 as additional tax deductions on the rental expenses of their premises and workers’ dormitories.

Where To Apply: TBA.

Effective From: Applications start on April 1, 2021.

Beneficiaries: Employers who hire foreign workers.


There are still more grants from the tabling of Budget 2021 that we’ve listed, but the exact requirements for SMEs to qualify are still unclear.

For more industry-specific grants and reliefs, you can find them on the government’s treasury 


You can read our coverage on the previous economic stimulus package here


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Featured Image Credit: Prime Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin