Muhyiddin showing the National Economic Recovery Plan. Photo: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: In the face of the economic challenges following the global Covid-19 pandemic, the government on Friday unveiled the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) to empower the people and stimulate the economy.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when announcing the short-term plan themed “Building the Economy Together” said that it was also aimed to propel businesses.

The plan features 40 initiatives worth RM35 billion to boost sustainable economic recovery, RM10 billion of which is a fiscal injection from the government.

The key agenda in empowering the people is to tackle the people’s concern of losing their jobs and source of income as many economic activities had been badly affected following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) since March 18.

The government also allocated almost RM9 billion, which will be channelled through various initiatives, to tackle the rising rate of unemployment and to ensure job sustainability, which is expected to benefit three million workforces in the country.

The initiatives include the extension of the wage subsidy programme worth over RM5 billion, the hiring and training assistance for businesses with a quantum of RM1.5 billion, as well as the reskilling and upskilling programme for youth and the unemployed worth RM2 billion.

The government is indeed serious in helping the workers and in ensuring the implementation of the initiatives, had set up the Special Committee on National Employment co-chaired by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Human Resources.

When the MCO was first implemented in March, the country’s unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent or about 610,000 people and the rate was expected to rise to 5.5 percent or over 860,000 people by end of this year.

Prior to Penjana, the government had also introduced several other economic stimulus packages including the PRIHATIN package and the additional Prihatin SME package totalling RM260 billion.

“Alhamdulillah, these economic stimulus packages introduced by the government had helped save over 2.4 million jobs, ease cashflow concerns for about 11 million Malaysians, and provide support to over 300,000 companies,” he said in his speech streamed live over national television.

As of June 2, approximately 12.7 million or 83.5 percent of workers in the country had returned to work.

To boost parents’ confidence to send their children back to childcare centres, the government is providing a special grant to childcare centre or nursery operators to ensure compliance with the MCO standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The government also announced an increase in the income tax relief for parents on childcare services expenses to RM3,000 for the year of assessment 2020 and 2021.

To reduce the cost of daily public transportation, the government will introduce My30 programme which will cost only RM30 for each user to enjoy unlimited monthly travel pass on all services provided by Prasarana in the Klang Valley from mid-June to end of December this year.

To provide assistance to vulnerable groups, such as the disabled (OKU) and single mothers, the government will provide one-off financial assistance of RM300 which will be paid before Aidiladha.

For internet users, the government, with the cooperation of local telecommunication companies, will provide 1GB free internet from 8am to 6pm daily until Dec 31 this year.

For the tourism sector which was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government also announced Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF) scheme worth RM1 billion to finance transformation initiatives by SMEs in the tourism sector to remain viable and competitive in the new normal.

“The government hopes to help each business, big or small,” Muhyiddin said.

To continue generating the country’s economy, the government also encouraged the consumption of Malaysian-made products and services through the ‘Buy Malaysia’ campaign and to encourage e-wallet usage for safe and contact-free payment experience, would give RM50 worth of e-wallet credits to all Malaysian aged 18 and above earning less than RM100,000 annually.

For the agriculture and food industry, the government has allocated a total of RM350 million through the Agrofood Fund loan facility to ensure the sustainability of agricultural and commodity entrepreneurs in the agriculture and food sectors.

“I’m sure all recovery efforts to stimulate the economy which I announced today will boost the confidence of investors, traders and the people as a whole to build the economy together,” the Prime Minister said.

No mention of Makcik Kiah in his speech this time around, as he used the name of Kak Radziah and Datuk Lim as among those who will benefit from the Penjana instead. – Bernama