Malaysians have suffered in intense chaos and terror, seeing as how the Movement Control Order came into action. With that, the nation fell under a sort of quarantine starting on March 18. The economic fallout is also contributing to their suffering.
Stimulus Package Malaysia
Considering the extraordinary outbreak of COVID-19 and its effect on the Malaysian economy, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, declared on March 27, 2020, the specifics of the PRIHATIN Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN Package). He emphasized on maintaining Malaysian citizens’ health, helping enterprises, and improving the economy in this time of crisis, as highlighted by Thestar. The upcoming Stimulus Package Malaysia summary will cover the essential points form this package.
The PRIHATIN Program is a compliment to:
- The Economic Stimulus Package, declared on February 27, 2020, by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir.
- New regulations for the Economic Stimulus Package proposed on March 16, 2020, and March 23, 2020, by the Prime Minister of Malaysia (which included additional security measures).
According to ChannelnewsAsia, the total size of the stimulus program at RM250 billion is significant at 15.5% of the country’s GDP and represents 84.2% of the initial 2020 expenditure of the federal government. Following is a brief summary of the Malaysian Economic Stimulus Package.
Malaysia’s Government Steps in Various Sectors
The government has requested financial firms to ensure financial assistance by rescheduling or reforming transactions to lenders, and also providing suspensions on payments. Such rescheduling, consolidation, or moratoriums would end in a 100% stamp tax exclusion. The exclusion is issued from March 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020.
- Bank Negara
Bank Negara Malaysia, which is the sovereign wealth fund of the country, would offer loans to small and mid-sized industries. It would be worth two billion-ringgit. Besides, the investments would be allocated by commercial banks at an interest rate of 3.75% annually. Starting on April 1, 2020, travel companies, aircraft, enterprises, hotels, and other industries that come under the travel sector will be granted a six-months deferment of their monthly duty tax charges.
Hotels are exempted from service tax from March 1, 2020, until August 31, 2020. Other than that, insurance businesses are to set up a separate RM8 million fund to cover the expense of screening tests priced up to RM300 for each insurer approved by the health ministry to undertake examination in a private clinic or private laboratories.
- Salaries of Hospital Staff
For the support of physicians, nurses, and other health staff, additional payments would be raised of about RM600 per month, starting in April, until the disaster is fully settled. Also, for the army, military, and the staff of armed forces, further additional compensation of RM200 would be granted to the frontline staff until the situation is free from the epidemic.
- Tourism Sector
The government has allotted US$ 113 million to finance the tourism sector by means of travel discount coupons and supporting tourism. The state, in partnership with airline companies, hotels, and restaurants, will provide discounts of up to 100 ringgit per citizen beginning in March 2020. These discounts would be in the form of coupons and vouchers. Also, Tourism Malaysia, which is the government’s ministry of foreign affairs, would acquire 30 million ringgits to improve the publicity of Malaysian tourism in the Middle East countries, and that of ASEAN, Europe, and South Asia.
- Wi-Fi Facilities
The government has also announced to assist the nation with free internet from April until the movement control order (MCO) comes to an end.
- Payments and Exemptions
Along with that, more than 1.5 million public servants would be granted RM500 in the form of one-off payment strategies. Employers facing almost 50% loss in their business since the beginning of 2020 would be provided with revenue exemptions of RM600 per month.
Public workers who used to get a salary less than RM4,000 would be facilitated with RM600 starting April until the on-going health crisis gets settled. The government also announced RM500 for more than 120,000 e-hailing drivers as a one-off payment. The Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) suspended the tax for six months in April on all industries to lessen the economic burden due to the pandemic.
The social finance system will be implemented to support enterprises and individuals suffering from the loss of their revenue source due to the crisis. Also, three months expansion of the allocation of income tax payments to SMEs starting in April 2020 will be implemented. RM200 is fixed for students stuck in higher institutes.