by AZREEN HANI
FINANCE Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said the announcement on financial assistance will be announced in the near future, amid calls for greater aid for the people and businesses in the lockdown.
“I have already discussed with the PM (Prime Minister) and relevant agencies. The government listens to the voice of the people and appropriate assistance will be announced in the near future,” Tengku Zafrul said in his official Facebook page last night.
He said this in relations to the request of blanket automatic moratorium and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) i-Sinar withdrawal.
Prior to this, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said that PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to make an announcement on economic assistance soon.
“For a bigger economic assistance package, that’s coming soon,” he said during a virtual engagement session with the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) last Thursday.
The Malaysian Reserve reported last week that cash handout to households is needed given the disparity, additional restrictions and recession the country is undergoing, despite the increase in stimulus packages.
Asia School of Business (ASB) assistant professor of economics Dr Melati Nungsari suggests the cash handout needs to target more households beyond the bottom 40% group (B40), and the quantum must be generous and not a one-off payment.
Kubang Pasu MP and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air secretary general Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the party wants the government to extend full automatic moratorium not only to individuals, but also businesses as they are suffering under the third Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0).
“The comprehensive moratorium must be approved immediately and extended until herd immunity is achieved before more businesses are forced to close, more citizens go bankrupt and in desperate situations, many resort to commit suicide,” Amiruddin said in a joint statement with the party’s head of economic bureau, Armin Baniaz Pahamin.
“We take note of and fully support the request of the Coalition of 140 NGOs, Chambers of Commerce for the government to offer automatic moratorium for all bank facilities,” the former deputy finance minister said in reference to Moratorium Untuk Rakyat recent request.