Sarawak unveils RM1.146bil stimulus package to cushion Covid-19 impact

Abang Joahri (centre) speaking to the media. He is flanked by deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (left) and Tan Sri Dr James Masing.

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, March 23: Sarawak is prepared for the long haul fight against the (novel coronavirus) Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg unveiled a six-month stimulus package amounting RM1.146 billion with 16 major initiatives to cover a period of six months, from April till September this year.

The “Sarawakku Sayang” economic aid package is part of its fight against the coronavirus beyond the two-week Movement Control Order (MCO), he said.

“Yes we have our own MCO but the impact will be about six months because we do not want to be burdened after these two weeks.

“If things go back to normal, business will be back normal in two weeks, but we feel that the rakyat must be assisted after these two weeks and we believe it will take about six months for their lives to be back to normal,” he told a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

When asked on the RM130 million federal government allocation for states to combat the spread of Covid-19, as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today, Abang Johari said the state will enquire with Putrajaya on the matter.

“We have to seek further clarification from the federal government because it seems that the RM130 million is for all the states and not for each state. The question is, is it for all the states or for each state?

“If it is for each state, I’m sure it will be based on the size of each state. It cannot be RM130 million for each state because there are some small states and there are big states (like Sarawak), but I take it (for now) that RM130 million is for all the states,” he said.

Abang Johari described the state’s economic aid package as balanced for the people and a business centric model to cushion the impact of the economic slowdown due to Covid-19.

The chief minister also pleaded to the people to stay at home and comply with the restricted movement order.

Abang Johari reminded that the state will remain strict in its fight against Covid-19. — DayakDaily