Saturday, September 18

Coronavirus: Govt mulls stimulus package, to focus on people’s well-being


Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali – Bernama file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: In efforts to mitigate the impact of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in 24 countries including Malaysia, the government is considering to inject an economic stimulus package and also to prioritise the safety and well-being of the people.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said for 2020, an allocation of RM227 million was provided for the purchase of medical and non-medical equipment for all health facilities nationwide.

“The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) is prepared to consider additional provision if necessary. The government will give priority to the health and safety of the people,” he said in a statement today.

In addition, he said the government had also taken steps to ensure the country’s readiness to address the coronavirus infection in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which on Thursday announced a global public health emergency following the outbreak.

As of yesterday, 259 people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in China and nearly 12,000 cases have been detected worldwide.

Mohamed Azmin said if the coronavirus outbreak persisted over a period of time and had an impact on the Chinese economy, the Malaysian economy would also be affected as China is one of Malaysia’s most important trading partners.

Among the sectors expected to feel the impact are the tourism, aviation, transport, education, manufacturing and construction sectors.

Last year, Malaysia received almost 26 million tourists and more than three million of them are from China.

The tourism sector contributes 15 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, the manufacturing and construction sectors that rely on input from China are also expected to be affected if China extends the quarantine period or increases the number of cities to be closed to prevent the spread of the outbreak in the republic.

“In this regard, the government, together with international agencies and the private sector will take proactive measures based on facts and information to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus infection on the Malaysian economy,” he said.

To ensure the country’s readiness to cope with the spread of the coronavirus, Mohamed Azmin said the government was working to raise awareness on the health measures needed to address the infection.

He advised the people to get the latest information and news from government sources, especially from the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Mohamed Azmin also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to all parties, especially the MoH’s specialists, doctors, staff and security personnel who worked hard and sacrificed their energy and time to fight the infection.

“Let us pray that Malaysia and all Malaysians will continue to be protected from any kind of outbreaks and disasters,” he said. – Bernama