Produced by Astro Awani
How much can PEMERKASA Plus help Malaysians?
COVID-19 has compounded the effects of economic recession for all Malaysians. The economic losses of the national lockdown were estimated to RM300mil a day, which would shave off 0.3% of the monthly national GDP.
In his interview with Ibrahim Sani’s Notepad (produced by Astro AWANI), Iskandar Fareez, REFSA communications director, comments on how the COVID-19 recession affects the livelihoods and businesses in Malaysia, and what should the focus be to ‘build Malaysia back better’.
The latest stimulus package, PEMERKASA Plus is almost entirely reactive rather than proactive, with a lack of long-term consideration and relatively narrow spending scope to address short term consequences of MCO 3.0. Here, Iskandar suggested three key areas that should be addressed in the government’s recovery book:
1. To convene parliament immediately;
2.To speed up the vaccination rate since, at present, only 3.5% of the total population are fully vaccinated;
3. Measures to reduce the transmission rates of COVID-19 requires significant relook at how to include migrant workers into the national immunisation programme- due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases among foreign workers.
The PEMERKASA+ stimulus package was announced to resolve the economic woes that will arise following the full lockdown. Some key initiatives include a three-month loan moratorium for B40 households and SMEs, additional one-off assistance for B40 households, and a continuation of the Wage Subsidy Programme. Ibrahim Sani speaks with Raja Ahmad Iskandar Fareez, Communications Director of Research For Social Advancement (REFSA) on this.