KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will announce the economic stimulus package on Thursday, Feb 27 to mitigate impact of Covid-19 outbreak on companies and the rakyat.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement on Friday the stimulus intends to mitigate the adverse external economic impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak on Malaysia while preserving the welfare of the rakyat.
“The economic stimulus package is neither a new budget nor part of Budget 2020 measures. Instead, assistance will be given to the affected sectors to allow the economy to emerge as whole as possible and benefit from the expected economic rebound post-Covid-19.
“Whilst the market is facing serious challenges, we should not despair but instead persevere to allow our industry to survive so that the country is ready to benefit from the economic rebound once the Covid-19 threat is over, ” he said.
Dr M willl announce the details at 4.30pm on that day.
Lim said cashflow is the principal concern for the affected companies which had to ensure that they remained viable, operational and capable of reaping the benefits when the economic rebound takes place.
The government will adopt measures to assist these companies, but emphasis should also be placed on exploring alternative revenues such as shifting towards encouraging domestic tourism, and sourcing from other markets, he said.
“This also involves keeping the domestic labour market resilient while ensuring our soft and physical infrastructure remain in place amid the short-term weakened demand, ” Lim said.
OCBC Treasury Research, had in a statement on Friday, said it expected the impact of the Covid-18 coronavirus to be around 0.4 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter.
It said the impact from the virus was based on the assumption the viral infection itself does not become a more major issue within the country.
On Wednesday, Bank Negara Malaysia announced Malaysia posted its worst economic growth rate since the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago.
The Malaysian economy was badly hit in the fourth quarter of 2019 (4Q19) as it grew by 3.6%, the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009.
Due to the Covid-19, the central bank said the outlook for the first quarter of 2020 had turned more cautious amid the worsening outbreak that may further dampen the economy.
However, Bank Negara governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said that the central bank has ample policy ammunition to deal with the growth slowdown as she expects further sluggishness to be felt in 1Q20 due to Covid-19.
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