‘Extra RM45bil funding must not go to crony projects’

PETALING JAYA: The RM45 billion additional funding secured in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders, must be direct fiscal injection to the rakyat and SMEs.

It must not be diverted for crony contracts especially with the forthcoming state elections in Malacca and Sarawak, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today.

“This was spelled out clearly and agreed to during the series of Budget consultations with the Finance Minister following reports that at least RM2 billion will be given out in the form of projects to contractors,” he said in a statement.

“Whilst DAP has no objection to development projects to contractors, the government has other sources of funding and should not stand in the way of direct funds for the rakyat and SMEs. One of the main purposes of PH signing the MOU is to secure this RM45 billion additional funding in the form of direct fiscal injection to the rakyat and businesses and SMEs to save lives and livelihoods.

“Additionally, the MOU required an unprecedented three-month interest waiver for the poorest 50% of the population, which was finally agreed to by the banking industry.”

For this purpose, Lim said at least RM30 billion of direct funding should be allocated for SMEs, with the remainder RM15 billion for health, job creation benefits and financial aid for the unemployed. Some of the assistance to the rakyat announced by the government will come from the RM45 billion fiscal package included in the MOU.

“This RM 30 billion for SMEs was also agreed to by the Finance Minister in accordance with the MOU. DAP hopes that the funds can be disbursed quickly before the end of the year to match the reopening of the economy so that businesses and jobs can get back on their feet quickly. In living together with Covid-19, let us work together to save lives and livelihoods,” the Bagan MP added.