PETALING JAYA: Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will decide on the announcement of the economic stimulus package to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the country's economy, says former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
In a statement on Tuesday (Feb 25), Lim said Dr Mahathir informed him that he will take over the stimulus economic package announcement.
"I met Dr Mahathir at his office to discuss the political developments in the county. Among the matters discussed was the package of economic plans to overcome the impact related to Covid-19, as was scheduled to be announced by Dr Mahathir on Feb 27.
"The Finance Ministry and I have finalised the stimulus economic packages on Feb 23 to be presented to the Prime Minister on Feb 24. However, Dr Mahathir had resigned yesterday.
"Dr Mahathir informed me that the stimulus economic packages will now be announced by him as the interim Prime Minister at a date which will be decided later," said Lim, who is also Bagan MP and DAP secretary-general.
On Feb 24, Dr Mahathir announced his shock resignation and was reappointed as the interim Prime Minister.
He has yet to form an interim Cabinet.
On Feb 14, Lim was reported to have said that 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," Lim had said.
On Feb 12, Bank Negara Malaysia announced that Malaysia had 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 outbreak, 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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