Govt expected to review 12th Malaysia Plan

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

GOVERNMENT will review the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) as global oil price crash and the Covid-19 pandemic are impacting every economic sector.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Affairs) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture) said the plunge in oil prices has left some major impact on oil exports for export earning and the government’s revenues.

“Currently, we are dealing with negative growth which means less tax collection and less dividend from Petroliam Nasional Bhd, therefore we have to realign it (12MP).

“The numbers crunched earlier are no longer relevant. We have to go back to the drawing board,” he said in a webinar organised by Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) last Friday.

The webinar titled “A Conversation with Mustapa Mohamed — Post-Covid-19 Recovery Plan: The Role of the Economic Action Council”, was hosted by IDEAS CEO Ali Salman.

During the one hour session, Mustapa suggested the government to view the pandemic as a chance to scrutinise legacies of past policies, discard what is no longer working and move forward.

He believes the unprecedented fallout caused by the pandemic could be the push needed to force businesses to adopt technology. Digital technology is now becoming more accessible and user-friendly.

“Past administration’s policies have long pushed for it, but it was unsuccessful mainly due to shortage of skills and talent.

“As the crisis caused by Covid-19 unfolds, policymakers believe traditional businesses, the country’s economic backbone, are left with little choice but to modernise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mustapa affirmed that at the moment, it is not a good time for the government to sell its assets as the prices will be very low.

He said it is better for the government to hold the current shares in companies and assets until those stocks become more valuable.

On free trade agreement, he hopes free trade principal would not stop because closing the border will worsen the condition and cause damage to the world trade system.

“In Asean region in particular, we haven’t see that yet but going forward, we have to conduct lots of dialogue sessions to discuss the future global trade system. Malaysia will remain open,” he said.

Mustapa said there are some views that we should look at the possibility to relax some movements in green zones, thus suggesting the government to consider relaxing restrictions in districts with low Covid-19 infection cases.

“It makes sense for the authorities to consider what else can be opened up. However, (safety and) health remain the priority.

“Small and medium enterprises, especially, have pushed policymakers to provide a clear exit strategy as concerns grow that the extended Movement Control Order announced last Thursday night could send companies reeling,” he said.