PM: Budget to focus on Covid-19 fight


MUAR: There will be additional measures in Budget 2021 as part of efforts to bring the life of the people back to normalcy, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).

“As a caring government, Perikatan Nasional will implement additional measures, ” he said.

"Before this RM305bil (has been spent) and Budget 2021 will focus on efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“We have spent almost RM2bil on the Health Ministry in Sabah alone, which has been badly hit by Covid-19.

“About RM400mil has been spent in the past few weeks involving the delivery of food aid to houses and medical supplies, ” said the Prime Minister when opening the 24th annual general meeting of Koperasi Sungai Terap and Sungai Raya Muar Bhd at SMK Bukit Pasir here yesterday.

Muhyiddin said the government was committed to fighting Covid-19 in the coming Budget, to be tabled on Friday, and would continue to help the people who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“The government has to provide stimulus packages to help the people because certain groups were badly hit.

“If, during the movement control order previously, some had asked to withdraw from account two of the Employees Provident Fund, now there are people seeking to withdraw their savings in account one.

“This withdrawal of savings is quite difficult to implement, as the government has already provided billions of ringgit to ease the people’s burden.

“You can expect more to come as I will be disbursing billions more to help the people.

“EPF savings are for our old age. If we allow this withdrawal, the people will face another set of problems, ” he added.

Muhyiddin admitted that it was tough for the government to strike a balance between protecting lives and livelihoods as it battles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our problem is when we reopen the economic sector, the people start to move about freely to revive the economy.

“It is quite difficult for the government to strike a balance between the life of the people and efforts to save the economy.

“The government needs to allow the economic sector to operate again as usual but at the same time, it has to contain Covid-19 by imposing certain restrictions.

“This is a difficult matter, ” he added.

Muhyiddin also expressed his appreciation for frontliners for their tireless efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country early this year.

“They have given their all and are exhausted after working day and night to protect lives. This is an extraordinary sacrifice.

“They are what people call the unsung heroes, so we have to thank frontliners for sacrificing their time and family to help keep us safe from Covid-19, ” he said.

At another event, Muhyiddin acknowledged that it would be hard to contain Covid-19 during the Sarawak election if it was held soon, and with the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election set for Dec 5.

He said the Election Commission (EC) had admitted that nobody else was willing to go down to the ground to help it run the elections due to fears over Covid-19.

“The Batu Sapi by-election is to be held soon. Not long after that will be the Sarawak state election. I am not sure how we are going to keep Covid-19 in check then.

“The EC is saying that nobody else is prepared to help it conduct the Batu Sapi by-election on the ground due to the fear of Covid-19, ” he said when addressing community leaders of his Pagoh parliamentary constituency at a meeting at the Pagoh Sports Complex.

The EC has set Nov 23 for the nomination, Dec 1 for early voting and Dec 5 for polling for the Batu Sapi by-election.

The Sarawak state election is due sometime in the middle of next year. — Bernama

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