MoF forms unit to monitor stimulus package implementation

Laksana will be reporting regularly to the EAC on the status and achievements of the measures included in the package

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE Ministry of Finance (MoF) has established a coordinating unit to monitor the execution of Malaysia’s RM20 billion economic stimulus package amid growing concerns of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies, or Unit Pelaksanaan dan Koordinasi Stimulus Ekonomi Antara Agensi Nasional (Laksana), will be reporting regularly to the Economic Action Council (EAC) on the status and achievements of the measures included in the package.

“I believe the establishment of this unit will ensure the initiatives announced in the economic stimulus package 2020 and further initiatives will be implemented in the near future perfectly to ensure the country’s economy remains strong and the welfare of the people is preserved,” Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz (picture) said in a statement yesterday.

He said the EAC’s weekly meeting, chaired by the prime minister (PM), will monitor the progress of domestic economy, as well as consider additional measures and improvisation of the stimulus package.

Malaysia last month unveiled a RM20 billion economic stimulus package comprising three anchor strategies, namely mitigating the impact of Covid-19, spurring people-centric economic growth and promoting quality investments.

Under the first strategy, Putrajaya has opted for a three-pronged approach that includes easing cashflow, assistance for affected individuals and stimulating the tourism sector.

The strategy proposes — among others — tax deferment, electricity bills discounts and financing facilities for virus-affected businesses, while offering various one-off payments, special allowances and vouchers to individuals.

Under the second strategy, one highlight is reducing the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution rate from 11% to 7%, effective April until year-end on a voluntary basis.

The third strategy largely involves agencies and government-linked companies accelerating planned projects. According to government estimates, Malaysia’s GDP would shrink by 0.8% to 1.2%, or RM10.8 billion to RM17.3 billion between January and February due to the coronavirus, with tourism the worst-hit sector, PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said recently.

He said the tourism industry is projected to record a loss of RM3.37 billion over the two-month period.