PM unveils sixth economic stimulus plan on eve of first MCO anniversary

A screen capture of Muhyiddin’s televised address

ONE day shy of the country’s first Movement Control Order (MCO) anniversary, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a RM20 billion financial package to mitigate the adverse economic impact from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa), is the sixth assistance package rolled out and includes a RM11 billion fiscal injection with five main thrusts and 20 strategic initiatives.

Besides containing the spread of Covid-19 and stimulate the country’s economic recovery, also aims to enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness and help transform the country’s economy.

“These strategic initiatives will help stimulate the country’s economic growth, support business continuity and continue with targeted assistance for the people and sectors still affected by the pandemic,” he said in his special address aired on television today.

He added that the nation is now at the fifth, or “revitalising” stage of the 6R economic recovery comprehensive plan .

“At the moment, the nation’s economic recovery strategy will focus on efforts to jump-start and subsequently create a conducive economic environment in the country,” he said.

The MCO to contain the spread of Covid-19 was first introduced on March 18 last year. Since then, the country has been under different phases of the MCO and in different locations.

The restrictions, which include closing national borders except for special cases, domestic travel restrictions and closure of certain businesses have hit the economy hard. The government has announced a slew of aid packages, including the largest ever national Budget at RM297 billion.

Muhyiddin also added that government may not need to impose a nationwide or statewide MCO since the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has already gotten underway.

He added that a more pragmatic approach was targeted MCO based on localities or clusters.

Among others, Muhyiddin said the government would allocate RM700mil to extend the wage subsidy programme 3.0 for another three months.

“This is especially for the tourism sector, the retail sector as well as other businesses that have been shut down during the movement control order (MCO) such as gyms and spas.

“This initiative is expected to help 400,000 workers and 37,000 employers.”

He also announced that the Perkeso PenjanaKerjaya 2.0 programme would be expanded to hiring temporary as well as gig workers.

This is expected to benefit 60,000 workers and cost the government RM300mil.

Employers registered with Perkeso who offer short-term work or gig services also stand to receive RM200 for each worker hired or placed.

For micro-credit financing scheme, the government has set aside RM500mil for programmes under BSN, Tekun, Mara and SME Corp.