By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, June 5: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled a short-term economic recovery plan amounting to RM35 billion today.
The economic recovery plan, known as Penjana with 40 initiatives is aimed at stimulating the country’s economy back on growth trajectory.
Muhyiddin observed that the country’s economy is experiencing a challenging time due to the Covid-19 pandemic whilst advanced and developing economies are expected to be in recession.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the world economy is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
“Forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April showed that the world economy is expected to contract by three per cent (this year).
“For the first time since the Great Depression in 1930s, advanced and developing economies are expected to be in recession.
“Malaysia is also experiencing a challenging time.
“The unemployment rate in Malaysia was around 3.9 per cent in March 2020 or 610,000 who were jobless.
“According to the forecast by the Department of Statistics on May 14, the unemployment rate is expected to inch higher to 5.5 per cent or 860,000 people who will become jobless this year.
“Taking into the challenging economic situation, Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to contract in the second quarter of 2020 due to the efforts to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the country,”he said when addressing the short-term economic recovery plan during a live telecast over Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) at Putrajaya today.
Muhyiddin said the federal government has earlier unveiled the economic stimulus package, the comprehensive economic stimulus package and the stimulus package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which amounted to RM260 billion.
He asserted that the economic stimulus packages rolled out earlier has managed to salvage 2.4 million jobs, reducing cash flow issues for approximately 11 million people whilst supporting the operations of 300,000 companies.
Muhyiddin added the federal government has adopted a 6R approach strategy in dealing with the economic challenges arising from Covid-19.
The 6R, he explained are Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalise and Reform.
Muhyiddin pointed out that the country’s economy is entering the fourth phase which is the recovery phase.
Thus, he outlined that the federal government introduced the short-term economic recovery plan known as Penjana.
Under Penjana, Muhyiddin said the plan focuses on three main thrusts; empower people, propel business and stimulate the economy.
He revealed the whole Penjana programme involved 40 initiatives amounted to RM35 billion and out of that RM10 billion was direct fiscal injection from the federal government.
Muhyiddin added the federal government is also formulating the policy for the gig economy with an allocation of RM75 million out of which RM50 million is a matching grant for self-employed whilst an allocation of RM25 million for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for the implementation of global online workforce programme.
Besides, Muhyiddin also announced the setting up of a Special Committee for National Profession.
He explained that the committee will co-chair by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz with Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan with representatives from the private and public sectors.
Other initiatives announced include the Peka B40 scheme with an additional allocation of RM50 million for swab test and medical equipment.
Apart from that, Muhyiddin said the federal government has prepared a matching grant of RM10 million through Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (Magic) to social enterprises which has raised funds to implement social projects to help the local community using innovative approaches.
Furthermore, he said the federal government has agreed to extend and standardise the operating hours of Urban Transformation Centres (UTC) throughout the country with effect from July 1.
He explained the decision to standard the operating hours of UTCs was made after taking into consideration the feedback from the people.
Muhyiddin expounded that the new operating hours at UTC which is beyond the normal operating hours was to facilitate those who want to utilise government services outside their working hours.—DayakDaily