Tengku Zafrul: M'sia's next economic stimulus zooms on 3 key goals

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's soon-to-be-unveiled Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) will focus on three main goals: empowering the rakyat, propelling businesses and stimulating the economy.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said in drafting the ERP from June to December 2020, the government's approach will also be based on four features.

First, it must be agile and dynamic.

The ERP must be able to be refined continuously, in line with the current needs due to the unprecedented 2020.

Secondly, the ERP must focus on public and private sector partnership (PPP).

Tengku Zafrul said the ERP will include various steps taken with as many partnerships as possible with the private sector, and not just government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies.

Thirdly, the ERP must be comprehensive in communicating and outreaching.

Tengku Zafrul said the rakyat and businesses must have faith in the ERP so that everyone can play their part in revitalising the local economy.

He said the government will ensure that communication efforts are made continuously during the period, with transparency essential to the success of the plan.

Fourthly, the ERP must adopt a data-based approach.

Tengku Zafrul said the implementation of the plan is based on data and statistics so that each achievement can be monitored and refined quickly and accurately.

The latest data will also be shared among government and private sectors, as well as implementing agencies for continuous improvement.

"Indeed, this short-term ERP is our chance to take on new opportunities arising from the Covid-19 crisis for the future development of the country.

"Insyallah, the initiatives to be announced by the Prime Minister will enable us to achieve our goals," he said in a statement today.

The short-term ERP is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin later this week.

It will be the fourth of six phases of Malaysia's efforts to address the health and economic issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has so far unveiled RM260 billion of economic stimulus packages to help the rakyat, workers and businesses ride through the pandemic.

Tengku Zafrul said the ministry had held sessions with 100 stakeholders from various industries including tourism, social entrepreneurs, creative industries and trade unions since the start of May.

He said the ministry had received proposals from the sessions and was considering to include them in the ERP.

He said the feedback had provided an insight into the challenges faced by businesses and the rakyat amid the pandemic.

Citing a study by Nielsen, Tengku Zafrul said over 40 per cent of surveyed workers had reported a decrease in income during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

According to the Department of Statistics, the main challenges faced by businesses during the MCO were paying salaries (77 per cent), shortage of customers (66 per cent), paying rentals (61 per cent) and cash flow problems (36 per cent).

He said while 67 per cent of the workforce were starting to go to work, there were about five million workers who had yet to do so. This was among others due to coming under strict prohibition list or unwillingness to participate in strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Citing a study by Ipsos, he said 62 per cent of Malaysians were very concerned about the threat of Covid-19 to themselves.

"This level of anxiety is the highest among citizens of other countries. This indicates that Malaysians will be more careful in their day-to-day activities, but it will indirectly affect various economic sectors including tourism and services," Tengku Zafrul said.

Source: New Straits Times

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