THE government needed to provide immediate help to the people and improve the economy instead of waiting for Parliament’s nod to do so in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“We were faced with a huge and complicated problem to manage and tackle Covid-19 and the entire nation and people are aware of the difficult situation.
“The government had no choice, and I myself was of the view that immediate action needed to be taken before the start of this Parliament session, ” he said in reply to a question raised by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Port Dickson).
Anwar questioned why the government had not tabled the economic stimulus plan to be scrutinised and debated by the MPs first as it involved a large sum of money with far-reaching impact.
Muhyiddin said details of the programmes under the RM250bil stimulus package would be raised by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz during debates in the coming days.
“The people needed immediate help as industries were collapsing and businesses were not operating. We could not wait to help, ” said the Prime Minister.
While acknowledging that it was the responsibility of lawmakers to raise questions in Parliament, Muhyiddin said it was the responsibility of the government to act swiftly and decisively.
He noted that any expenditure would be done in accordance with the law and should not exceed the permissible ceiling.
To a question raised by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna), Muhyiddin said unemployment was expected to rise to 5.5% or 820,000 by the year’s end.
At present, he said, unemployment stood at 720,000.
Earlier, Muhyiddin informed the MPs that the economy had grown by 0.7% in the first quarter of this year which was above expectations.
“The government will introduce additional measures to strengthen the economy when it unveils Budget 2021 on Nov 6, ” he said.