Green Asia

Malaysia offers grant programmes for small businesses in hopes of tackling unemployment and income gap

“Not everybody can do the same thing. We appreciate what the government is trying to do for us, but they should also think about how different people are,” she added.

Her husband, Mr Mohd Azmi Kamarulzaman, who helps her in managing the business, said it has been difficult for him to access the grants, and called on the process to be made easier and more transparent. 


Many small businesses are struggling amid rising costs and reduced consumer purchasing power.

Economists say help must be more targeted and result-oriented.

“The support has to be (handed out to the right people), not just because you are poor. We want to help you so that you can grow,” said Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali, director of the Malaysian Inclusive Development and Advancement Institute.

“It’s not just about announcing how many million (people) are getting (the grants), we need to also look at the graduation of the people, who can move on without government support.”

He said he is more worried about the widening income and growth disparities among the different states in Malaysia.

Currently, half of the workers in Malaysia earn less than US$500 a month.

The government has promised to raise workers’ income and address wage growth in the new industrial master plan.

It wants to reduce the country’s dependence on low-skilled foreign labour, which contributes to the overall low wage levels.

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