State of emergency will help flatten two curves

Datuk Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING:  The newly declared state of emergency will help flatten the curves of both the Covid-19 pandemic and that of economic recession.

Economist Datuk Dr Madeline Berma who pointed this out, applauded the economic stimulus package rolled out by the government during the first movement control order (MCO) in March last year.

She said the economic package had managed to help local businesses to recoup part of the losses caused by the first wave of the pandemic.

“These stimulus packages had succeeded in empowering the people to save the livelihood in terms of safeguarding jobs and promote retention of employees to reduce layoffs,” she said when contacted on Tuesday.

Although the move could trigger investors’ anxiety, she said, the impact on the economy would not be severe as compared to previously as Malaysia now is still in the process of recovery.

“The impact would be less severe as compared to the effect of the first MCO which was imposed in March last year.

“The relatively lower impact on the economy is mainly due to the government’s fiscal packages of RM305 billion, or about 20 percent of GDP. 

“We thank the government’s swift and consistent response in addressing the Covid-19 crisis with the four stimulus packages worth the aforesaid amount to help people and businesses.

“Besides, the emergency is being enforced during the recovery stage,” she asserted.

Madeline further highlighted that the reimposition of the MCO, CMCO and RMCO under the state of emergency will allow the government to continue rolling out any additional fiscal stimulus to further support lives, livelihoods and businesses, if necessary.

“The stimulus package focusing on developing the SME helps the sustaining of operations, uplifting productivity and digitalisation.

“Those moratorium, cash handouts and EPF special withdraw programmes have provided the much-needed breathing space among households.

“With the state of emergency, the government will have more freedom and flexibility to make policy decisions and ordinances such as extending the moratorium, wage subsidy and financial relief aids, without having to go to the Parliament,” she added.