Muhyiddin calls for prudent spending

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by BERNAMA

PRIME Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants greater financial discipline to prevent any deterioration of the country’s finances as the government seeks to balance social wellbeing and push for economic growth, but maintaining fiscal priorities.

The PM also stressed the need for the government to maintain a strong financial position and work to reduce leakages.

“The government’s debt position and liabilities must be given attention, and every project which will be undertaken must be scrutinised to ensure they do not burden the government’s financial and debt commitment,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.

The PM was earlier briefed by the government’s top officials on Malaysia’s economic and fiscal positions, national debt and measures under the stimulus plan to address the Covid-19 outbreak.

The PM also believed that the annual budget should provide huge returns to the country’s economic growth, as well as improve the people and country’s income.

“In view of the current situation, the effectiveness of government programmes and projects must be further enhanced to ensure that every sen spent will contribute to the development of the country and the wellbeing of its people,” according to the statement.

Malaysia had announced a RM20 billion stimulus package to address the coronavirus outbreak.

Bank Negara Malaysia yesterday joined global financial regulators by slashing the policy rate by 25 basis points to 2.5% to cushion the impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus on South-East Asia’s third-largest economy.

Muhyiddin also ordered the immediate implementation of Budget 2020 and the RM20 billion economic stimulus package.

“Discussions were also centred on the agenda to strengthen domestic economic activities, guarantee the people’s wellbeing and alleviate the country’s economy to a more competitive level. On the stimulus package, the Finance Ministry must monitor its performance and overall impact,” the PMO said.

The stimulus package, which was unveiled by interim PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week, comprised tax exemptions, tariff rebates and cash handouts to soften the economic fallout from the outbreak.

The package will see Malaysia’s fiscal gap widen to 3.4% as the country attempts to boost consumer spending by helping affected businesses and households improve their cashflow, following a plunge in international tourist receipts.