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‘Special Cabinet committee established today will help ensure stimulus reaches target groups’

02 Apr 2020 / 19:11 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The establishment of the special cabinet committee announced today is seen as a bid to ensure the stimulus package reaches target groups in a timely manner, say analysts.

Bank Islam chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package requires close coordination among various stakeholders such as state governments, agencies and government-linked companies.

“The special cabinet committee will address such issues. Effective communication is very critical so that everyone would know what to do,” he told Bernama.

Echoing Afzanizam’s views, AxiCorp global chief market strategist Stephen Innes said the setting up of the committee reflects the government’s response to address issues highlighted by the rakyat and the business community.

He said these measures are designed to reassure people who are under the Movement Control Order that the government has their back.

“The government wants to quash fears that they are not getting a paycheck and are getting restless and even panicking, and I think these are great measures to reassure people in Malaysia that the government will help them out in this time of economic crisis,” he added.

Earlier, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) said the special cabinet committee will develop strategic measures to safeguard Malaysia’s economy and labour market impacted by Covid-19 with the aim of striking a balance between the nation’s economic priorities and the effective enforcement of the MCO.

The committee will be co-chaired by Senior Minister and Miti Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Senior Minister and Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

It is scheduled to convene its first meeting tomorrow followed by a second meeting on Sunday, April 5.

It will then report its recommendations to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during the Economic Action Council (EAC) meeting on Monday, April 6.

Asked if Malaysia’s economy will recover from the pandemic, Mohd Afzanizam said the economy will see a gradual recovery in domestic demand especially in the context of the fiscal stimulus measures already in place.

“However, the external sector is likely to be wobbly especially in the advanced countries as they are still struggling to contain the virus spread,” he said.

MITI will be engaging with industry players from various sectors to gather insights from people on the ground to ensure the committee addresses specific issues facing the business community, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), manufacturers and investors.

The SMEs, Mohd Afzanizam said, could resume their normal business operations once the MCO ends.

“With more money in the hands of the public, the SMEs could record respectable sales, improving their cash flow position,” he added. — Bernama

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