PETALING JAYA: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today said the government’s latest RM20 billion initiative for economic recovery was too small to pull the country out of recession.
He said the latest Pemerkasa stimulus plan announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday was not enough as it involved only RM11 billion in fiscal injection compared with past stimulus packages.
In his speech yesterday, the prime minister said the plan was part of a six-pronged strategy to face Covid-19, help in the existing economic recovery, as well as revitalise the economy.
Lim said the past economic stimuli of RM305 billion under PRIHATIN last year, RM322.5 billion in the 2021 Budget, and the RM15 billion under the PERMAI package in January had not been effective.
He added that these packages did not achieve the intended results and even resulted in a downgrade for Malaysia by Fitch Ratings.
“The PN government has also missed their GDP targets, with the economy contracting by 5.6% and the budget deficits ballooning to 6.2%,” Lim said, adding that what was needed was a “RM45 billion economic big bang” in order to jumpstart the economy.
He said the Pemerkasa package, offering not many initiatives, stuck to the old paradigm of one-off payments, instead of regular cash assistance until the end of the Covid-19 induced crisis.
“What happened to PN’s promise of increasing the monthly welfare aid to RM1,000 as well as aid for the unemployed, 150,000 tablets and laptops for students, Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) self-withdrawals up to RM10,000 and also an automatic extension of the bank loan moratorium, barring high-income earners in the T20 group?” he asked.
Lim said the latest RM10,000 fine for those violating MCO restrictions was disappointing, with the prime minister now pledging to give one-off cash aid of RM500 for individuals and RM3,000 one-off grants to small businesses.
“Giving a little with the right hand but taking more with the left-hand does not help to lessen the financial burden of the rakyat.
“The government should not be like an ostrich in the sand, in a perpetual state of denial at the severity of the economic recession on ordinary Malaysians and businesses.”
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