by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
KUALA LUMPUR – Issues related to the people, businesses and the economy need to be addressed in 2022 to ensure the country’s well-being, said Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture).
He said the high vaccination rate is expected to help the Malaysian economy to keep moving forward and not be as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as it had been previously.
“Now a new variant has emerged but the details on it are still unknown.
“We still hope that the country can achieve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth target of between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent,” he said during his interview on RTM’s Selamat Pagi Malaysia television programme aired this morning, in conjunction with the 100th day of the Malaysian Family aspirations.
Tengku Zafrul also expressed his hope that all businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would rise again to drive the country’s economic growth.
In terms of the people’s well-being, he said the government had allocated RM4.8 billion to generate 600,000 job opportunities under Budget 2022 to reduce the unemployment rate; targeting for it to be below four per cent for 2022.
“I think the target of creating 600,000 jobs is realistic because as of Nov 30, 2021, the government has managed to create almost 497,000 jobs, which is 99.3 per cent of the target of 500,000 this year.
“Next year, we will have the Malaysian Family Work Guarantee programme, and among the initiatives under this programme is the Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP) which offers about 80,000 jobs in the public sector and government-linked companies,” he said.
The government is also providing training and skills upgrading with the aim of creating 220,000 job opportunities, as well as employment incentive initiatives in collaboration with the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) which will benefit 300,000 job seekers.
Tengku Zafrul said the government had also responded to MSME’s concerns by allocating RM14.2 billion for the sector under Budget 2022, aimed towards rebuilding capacity and supporting the recovery of MSMEs.
The initiatives announced include micro-credit financing amounting to RM1.8 billion through various implementing agencies such as the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (TEKUN), Agrobank, Bank Simpanan Nasional, Bank Rakyat and Bank Negara Malaysia.
The finance minister also highlighted that the government had given lifelines to 11 million Malaysians by channelling a total of RM8.8 billion to the people through Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR), COVID-19 Special Assistance and Income Loss Assistance (BKP) as of November 2021.
He added that 1.9 million workers had also benefited from the Wage Subsidy Programme, while a million MSMEs were also assisted through the Prihatin Special Grant.