Malaysia has unveiled a RM250 billion (about 58 billion US dollars) Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) to counter the effects of Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak, which has been seen by analysts and critics as the largest economic rescue plan in the country’s history.
The huge incentive package aims to help the society, especially the lowest and middle-income (B40) people to bear the burden of the breakdown in the country.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said, when announcing this “special economic incentive package,” RM128 billion from RM250 billion will be dedicated to safeguarding the well-being of the people. It also includes more than 1 billion ringgit ($ 250 million) for the Ministry of Health which are monitoring COVID-19 day and night.
But it has received a conservative welcome from economists and critics because the package would rely on borrowing that the people might have to pay it in form of taxes at a later time. It could also cause the collapse of the ringgit and the high rate of inflation, according to some economists.
Some politicians from the opposition, on the other hand, questioned the incentive package`s plan disbursement to the beneficiaries and stressed the need to discuss it in Parliament. However, that cannot be possibly done so soon as the parliament sessions will start only in May 18.
Moreover, the ruling party has refused to discuss the package in Parliament, on the pretext that it is not a new or amended budget that requires Parliament’s approval.
Covid-19 restricted movement order or lockdown has disrupted and paralyzed economic life in Malaysia – as in all over the world – and forced the government to find stricter measures and plans, such as this billion of ringgits package of incentives, to save the people and the country economy from fallout.
The enforcement of Movement Control Order for many weeks would have badly affected a wide cross-section of citizens who have to close shop and stay at home during this period – they lost their daily income. Some people lost their jobs as well.
Being aware that Covid-19 crisis has put millions of lives and businesses at stake, the Prime Minister considers that the government incentives alone are not sufficient without popular solidarity; as such he urged civil society institutions and NGOs to help complete the shortage that the government would not be able to absorb.