KUALA LUMPUR — May 30, 2020: Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is optimistic the country has the capacity to spur an economic recovery by next year, now that the economy has been rebooted, with nearly 70 per cent of the workforce back at work after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased.
He nonetheless acknowledged that the country will be affected by the pandemic, citing the forecast by the International Monetary Fund that the global economy will experience a three per cent contraction.
Various media referred to the minister’s interview for a Bernama TV documentary, in which he also said that the country must rise again and record a positive Gross Domestic Product growth as opposed to the negative forecast for this year.
To weather the downturn, the government has been implementing the 6R approach — resolve, resilience, restart, recovery, revitalise and reform.
The first phase refers to the government’s resolve to curb the deadly virus by imposing the movement control order effective March 18 while the second is on building resilience through the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package unveiled on March 27 and the additional allocation announced on April 6.
The third was the move to reopen or recharge the economy in stages, while the fourth is the present recovery phase. A short-term economic recovery plan will be announced next week.
The fifth phase will focus on the medium term, which will be unveiled in either October or November.
The reform phase involves planning for the long term to reform the structure of the country’s economy, with the focus on the 12 Malaysia Plan to be announced in January.
According to Tengku Zafrul, more than 640,000 micro enterprises have applied for the special prihatin grant. Each successful applicant will receive a one-off assistance of RM3,000 intended to help micro SMEs with cashflow. No repayment is required.