Dr M announces RM20 bln economic stimulus package

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 27 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Malaysia’s interim Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad today announced a RM20 billion economic stimulus package aimed at reducing the impact of Covid-19 on the country’s economy.

From tax incentives to measures to put more money in the pockets of Malaysians, the three-pronged package has been tailored to assist companies and businesses affected by the spread of the virus, while ensuring continued national economic growth and quality investments.

Dr.Mahathir said among the industries seeing the most impact from Covid-19 were from the tourism sector such as hotels, airlines, tour agencies, as well as the retail and those in the food supply chain industry.

He said to cope with the drop in tourism arrivals, the government will set out various assistance such as tax discounts to help hotels, shopping malls and convention centres among others.

The Economic Stimulus Package was announced as scheduled despite the political crisis brought on by attempts to realign the country’s political landscape which saw the Pakatan Harapan government losing its majority in Parliament.

Malaysia recorded 22 positive cases of COVID-19 with 20 patients have fully recovered so far.

Approximately 80,000 people have been infected with the disease worldwide with over 2,800 deaths recorded mostly in China.

Dr Mahathir said the most immediate economic impact of COVID-19 has been the sharp decline in tourist arrivals throughout the region as hotels, airlines, travel companies and more broadly the tourism-dependent retail industry have been badly affected.

To mitigate the impact, the government will implement a three-pronged approach – first, to ease the cash flow of affected businesses, second, to assist affected individuals, and third, to stimulate demand for travel and tourism.

Dr Mahathir began his speech by expressing his highest appreciation to the doctors, nurses, health workers, Immigration and other front liners protecting Malaysia from the COVID-19 outbreak.