Dr Mahathir unveils RM20b Economic Stimulus Package

Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today unveiled an economic stimulus package worth RM20 billion to cushion the economic risk from the Covid-19 outbreak.

The package was finalised by former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng before the Pakatan Harapan government was abruptly dissolved.

Some of the measures mentioned include a RM600 one-off payment to taxi drivers, tourist bus drivers, tour guides and registered trishaw drivers, RM400 special monthly critical allowance for doctors and medical personnel at the frontline of handling Covid-19, RM200 for immigration and related staff from February 2020 until the end of the pandemic.

He also announced that the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) payment for May 2020 will be moved forward to March 2020, an additional RM100 will be paid to BSH recipients in May 2020 on top of an additional RM50 in the form of e-tunai, up to RM100 in digital domestic tourism vouchers per person for domestic flights, rails and hotel accommodation for all Malaysians.

He also said that contributors are allowed to reduce minimum Employees Provident Fund contribution from 11% to 7% effective April 1 until Dec 31, which can keep up to RM10 billion in consumers’ hands.

Mahathir, in his speech, said Malaysia had previously experienced a similar situation during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which caused the gross domestic product to shrink from 7.1% in the third quarter of 2002 to 4.6% in the same quarter of the following year.

“As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the country’s gross domestic product is expected to range between 3.2% to 4.2%,“ he said.

“I believe the economic stimulus package will enable the Malaysian economy to achieve the highest point.

“In formulating the stimulus package, the government exercised prudence with respect to its fiscal position.”

Other measures of the stimulus package include deferment of monthly income tax instalment for tourism, 15% discount in monthly electricity bill for hotels, travel agencies, airlines, shopping malls, convention and exhibition centres and human resource development fund levy exemption for travel-related companies.

When asked where the extra funds for the stimulus package came from, Mahathir said it came from the treasury reserves.

“The government calls on the rakyat to remain steadfast, brave and diligent in prevailing over the current challenges and emerge even stronger after this episode.”




Source: www.thesundaily.my




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