KUALA LUMPUR: There is a need to balance between lives and livelihoods in the implementation of MCO 3.0, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said this was why the government decided not to impose a total lockdown such as MCO 1.0 as it would affect the people’s livelihoods and many would lose their jobs.
“If the people do not work, the economy would collapse and to redevelop it, the government had to spend RM340bil with six stimulus packages,” he said.
"That is not a small amount, it has never happened in the country. Twenty per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is used to help the people. This is what the people must understand. If we do that (close all economic sectors) we will face bigger problems, and the country would not be able to recover later," he said in a special interview with RTM ad Bernama.
He said when all economic sectors closed during MCO 1.0 from March 18 to May 3 last year, the country lost RM2.4bil a day and many people including small traders were badly affected.
Muhyiddin said if the government brought back the MCO 1.0, the country would need up to half a trillion ringgit to help the people and stimulate the economy.
"We can close (all economic sectors), but when it reopens later, the system may collapse because we have to reopen i-Sinar, give Prihatin assistance, moratorium and others. Can the government afford it again?
"I don't want to see the people sacrificed because of my negligence or theirs. I also don't want our economy to collapse," he said, adding that because of that, the government decided to tighten the SOPs of MCO 3.0.
Muhyiddin was also confident that the country’s economy would get better this year, in line with the government's action as well as the recovery of economic activities and world trade.
He said Malaysia was on the right track in the planning and management of the economy towards stronger and sustainable growth that showed positive effects.
“Our plans are already seeing the effects. Maybe Covid-19 is not over.
But our economy is already showing signs of improvement. Our exports are increasing, our imports are increasing,” he said, adding that a growth of 6.5 to 7.0% was projected by various parties.