Government seeks additional RM20bil for Covid-19 fund


Reports by MARTIN CARHALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN

THE government has tabled the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) (Amendment) Bill 2020 for an additional expenditure of RM20bil.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz tabled the Bill for first reading yesterday.

He said the second reading of the Bill would be made during the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

It involves the amendment to the amount for the wage subsidy programme, employment retention and recruitment incentives, as well as training assistance to RM18.3bil from RM16.8bil.

The amendment also involves the amount for Bantuan Prihatin Nasional from RM11.2bil to RM25.2bil as well as SME Prihatin Grant from RM1.9bil to RM2.4bil.

In addition, the amount for Covid-19 related expenses would be amended to RM5bil from RM1bil.

Thus, the total number of programmes under the stimulus package and economic recovery plan to reduce the impact of Covid-19 would be amended to RM65bil from RM45bil.

The Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) Act was passed in August to set up a RM45bil Covid-19 fund.

Apart from setting up the fund, the law also allows the government borrowings to raise the permissible statutory debt level ratio of 55% of the gross domestic product to 60%.

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