Covid-19: PM unveils RM250b economic stimulus package

Danial Dzulkifly
A live broadcast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the special Covid-19 stimulus package is seen on a television in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced a RM250 billion economic stimulus package to cushion the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Muhyiddin announced that the economic aid, dubbed the People-Centric Economic Stimulus package (Prihatin), will benefit all segments of the society. 

He said RM128 billion will go towards the people’s welfare, RM100 billion to supporting businesses, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and another RM2 billion to strengthening the country's economy.

The prime minister announced cash handouts totaling some RM10 billion for the lower-income B40 and middle-income M40 groups in view of the Covid-19 crisis.

He also announced a RM500 million allocation for the Health Ministry to ramp up its resources. 

An additional RM1 billion will be allocated to the purchase of equipment and services to combat Covid-19, including obtaining medical specialist services from the private sector, said Muhyiddin.

He also said that medical personnel will see an increase in their special allowance, from RM400 to RM600 a month, starting April 2020 until the Covid-19 outbreak is contained.

Meanwhile, security services such as the police, army and customs will receive a monthly special allowance of RM200 from April 2020 until the outbreak is under control.

To ensure that the country has sufficient food supply, Muhyiddin said the government will inject RM1 billion into the Food Security Fund while providing additional aid to farmers and fishermen to spur domestic food production.

The government will also introduce the Wage Subsidy Programme to help employers retain their workforce by preparing a wage of RM600 for each employee, earning less than RM4,000 for three months.

The programme is also tailored specifically to employers who have faced a 50 per cent drop in revenue since January of this year. The programme is expected to benefit 3.3 million workers with a budget of RM5.6 billion allocated, the prime minister added.

 

He also announced a six-month moratorium of rental payment for People's Housing Project (PPR) residents and tenants of federal government-owned premises and urged state governments and other government-linked agencies to do the same.

He said some 120,000 e-hailing drivers will receive a one-off payment of RM500 with an allocated budget of RM60 million.  

Muhyiddin also announced an RM4.5 billion additional fund for SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs, with RM3 billion channelled to the Special Relief Facility.

The government will also increase an additional RM530 million for electricity bill discounts that will be done in stages, between 15 per cent to 50 per cent, he added.

This follows an earlier announcement that a 2 per cent discount on electricity bills for those in the commercial, industrial and agriculture sectors, as well as for domestic users which will come into effect on April 1.

The government will also partner with local telecommunication companies to provide free internet services to all customers starting from April 1, with a total budget of RM500 million.

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