APR 3, 2020

Life Support for the Economy: A comparative analysis of Covid-19’s stimulus packages of Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom

Executive Summary:

With the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming clearer, nations around the globe are introducing support packages for their economies. The amounts of support seen so far are indeed unprecedented, but from country to country, the range of measures implemented varies considerably. Despite the difficulties inherent in the exercise, it can be instructive to compare stimulus measures across countries, to provide perspective on the proposed measures and for policymakers to calibrate their approach.

In this working paper, we attempt a comparison of stimulus packages between Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. We start by sketching the context particular to each country, since this influences the fiscal response required. We analyse each package along common categories to derive qualitative and quantitative conclusions.

The qualitative comparison of the different measures already highlights the different focus of the packages. The Singapore and UK packages focus mainly on companies and preservation of employment, whereas the Malaysian package focuses on maintaining household income.

The quantitative comparison confirms this finding. All three packages represent a substantial commitment compared to GDP. However, the Malaysian stimulus allocates about 0.5% of GDP to measures designed to help companies maintain employment. The UK allocates 0.9% and Singapore 3.1%.

Hence we recommend additional support measures for employers, in particular SME’s. The goal should be to maintain employment and levels of income during the Movement Control Order, so that the economy can quickly return to baseline production once the covid-19 pandemic subsides.

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