It is smart economics: Economist Analyst
By:Nur Shazreena Ali
Date:
[LEAD]-KCH-pmadeline swkkusyg-2403-nsa

KUCHING: Expanding the state’s economic stimulus package, Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid package, would be more extraordinary by outlining specific measures of the long-term effect for the post-movement restriction order.

Lauding the package as smart economics, fellow of Akademi Sains Malaysia Assoc Prof Dr Madeline Berma explained that the implementation of using the expansionary fiscal policy would bridge the reduction in demand and increase the aggregate.

“The package is smart economics as it implements using the expansionary fiscal policy to kickstart and spur economic growth during an economic slowdown.

“For example, raising disposable income with monthly cash payouts of RM250 for six months for the low-income group (B40), giving water and electricity bill discounts will be able to raise more private consumption by consumers,” she told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted yesterday.

On the home front, she said it was necessary to provide incentives so that it would encourage firms to gear up production.

She described that the measure to increase investments would reduce lay-offs.

“It spells out in detail efforts to encourage more investment among small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs).

“By supplementing the SMEs with various incentives, including giving a waiver of permits and licenses fees, the 25 percent discount for assessment rate, deferment on loan repayment for Skim Pinjaman Industri Kecil Dan Sederhana, the 30 percent discount for land rent and the deferment for land premiums would stimulate the economic growth,” she added.

Comparing the Asian financial crisis back in 1997 and the Sub-Prime Crisis in 2008, the Sarawak Commissioner of Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) encapsulated that the current financial crisis was triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 has created not just a health emergency but a financial crisis. It could not have come at a worse time for Malaysia, already in the middle of an economic slowdown.

“Unlike the Asian Financial Crisis, 1997-1998 and the Sub-Prime Crisis in 2008 which both originated by financial.

“While the Covid-19 is health-related. Clearly, we are in uncharted waters now,” she explained.

Apart from that, the package, she added, had addressed the realm of the economy situation.

“There is no doubt that the outbreak of the pandemic Covid-19 has affected the livelihoods of the ordinary people.

“Today, the problem is direct losses of jobs and income for people and businesses, being put on part-time work, or asked to take leave without pay.

“The package, nevertheless, has addressed the problems in the real economy which affected by the coronavirus-related public health measures,” she reckoned.

Furthermore, the former associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) suggested the state government to outline its specific strategies to increase their spending.

She clarified that since the component was part of the expansionary fiscal policy, this would provide a clearer and comprehensive guideline for higher government to address unemployment.

“Efforts for flexibility in labour markets will enable to offset the lay-offs and greater government spending will create more jobs and thus, provide an economic stimulus,” she explained.

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