KUCHING: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has today announced four measures to help tide Malaysians over in the current economic downturn which has been aggravated by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
At a press conference in Putrajaya after chairing a National Economic Council meeting, he said they are:
1. From April 1, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors can apply to withdraw RM500 from Account II of their savings for a period of 12 months. This is expected to amount to RM40 billion.
2. RM500 million allocation for the Health Ministry to purchase medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE) and laboratory equipment for Covid-19 screening. An additional RM100 million for the Health Ministry to hire 2,000 nursing staff on contract to relief healthcare workers who have been working around the clock.
3. RM130 million allocated to every state regardless of whether they are government or opposition-controlled states. The fund can be used by the state governments to help hawkers, small scale traders, and also state civil servants who are involved in the battle against Covid-19.
4. Deferment of repayment of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan increased to six months. Some 1.5 million borrowers believe to be affected, involving RM750 million.
The prime minister said that the measures are part of a more extensive stimulus package which will be announced on March 30.