Finance Ministry to continue helping those in need

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz

IN its efforts to get the economy going and to continue with its assistance to the rakyat, aside from rolling out Budget 2021 measures, the Finance Ministry (MOH) will also focus on more targeted initiatives.

“For example, we will be cross-referencing data from various agencies to ensure that those who were not in any official registry for government aid will be duly registered, ” said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He is now mustering his strength once again for another challenging year ahead as he leads the ministry in navigating Malaysia towards an economic recovery.

“Even when the economy is force-started, the people and businesses need help to restart. And you have sectors like tourism that can’t even restart.

“Yes, we are looking into other stimulus packages. We have the data to see which individuals and companies are really affected and we are discussing with the relevant ministries on how we can help those sectors.

“The recovery comes with an exit strategy and this involves the vaccination programme. That will also be key to the economic recovery, ” he said, adding that the government will make an announcement in the near future.

Tengku Zafrul also stressed the importance of a GLC transformation, which will see an optimisation of GLICs and GLCs.

“The effort now involves a re-evaluation of strategic investments in the country for the government to optimise its investments.

“The transformation of GLCs is vital to redefine their direction, vision and mission, especially after the country has been affected by the pandemic.

“We also need to weigh their objectives and social responsibilities, in line with sustainable development goals, ” he said.

MCO 2.0 has caused economic disruption but Tengku Zafrul said it was too early to say if the full-year economic growth projection of between 6.5% and 7.5% would not be achieved.

“First off, let’s be gently reminded that we have not even completed the first quarter of 2021. There are still many Budget 2021 measures that have yet to be implemented.

“We sped up the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) payment from May to February, and will continue to pay the Wage Subsidy until September 2021, depending on when companies submit their applications.

“Others, particularly when it involves third parties, are slated for implementation in the later part of the year (eg, the RM100 e-Belia one-off e-wallet cash for 18-year-olds to 20-year-olds that involves telcos, which will be implemented in July).

“Secondly, the government has given its promise that it will continue to help the rakyat and businesses recover and rebound. Our report card for the past one year shows that we have kept our promises. If there is a need to further assist them, we will do what we can.

“In the meantime, I am confident that with our Budget 2021 and Permai measures, coupled with the systematic and proper implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, the economy should be heading for calmer waters.

“God willing, with the teamwork and great support from my MOF and Laksana teams and other agencies, we will ensure measures are properly executed and monitored to help the economy rebound and regrow in the second half of this year, ” he said.

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