Government seeks another RM45b for Covid-19 relief

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The government tabled an amendment to the Covid-19 Bill today to increase expenditure by RM45 billion from RM65 billion to RM110 billion.

It also tabled the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Amendment Act 2021 Bill to increase the federal government’s statutory debt limit from 60% to 65% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said the additional money was crucial for “business, health, and economic recovery”.

Bernama

It was to ensure that families in need would get assistance, he told the Dewan Rakyat when tabling the Bill.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the government had spent RM530 billion under various stimulus packages, including fiscal and non-fiscal measures, he said.

But Zafrul admitted that “there was still space for improvement”.

The additional RM45 billion, he said, was for various initiatives, including strengthening the health system, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses.

It was also for wage subsidies and projects under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

He warned that if the bill was not passed, the rakyat would suffer.

Noting that challenges to health and economic recovery remained despite various relief packages, Zafrul argued that an increase in statutory debt was needed for this year and in 2022 for continuous economic recovery. – FMT