Najib: Permai stimulus package is just old stuff in a new bottle

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Former prime minister Najib Razak says the government’s new RM15 billion Permai stimulus package announced today has fallen short of expectations and that most of the initiatives had already been announced previously.

He said the special aid Permai package did not cater specifically for the implementation of the current movement control order (MCO) and the imposition of a state of emergency.

FMT

“Most of the initiatives are already in the 2021 budget,” he said in a Facebook post reviewing the stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today.

He also criticised the government for not announcing an automatic extension of the loan moratorium. However, he welcomed the improvements for the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) i-Sinar scheme.

“There are some improvements in Category 2 of the EPF i-Sinar although it is not automatic and conditions still exist for withdrawals from Account 1 up to RM10,000,”

Muhyiddin had said that the three main goals of the package, known as Permai, were to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, protect the people’s welfare and support businesses.

He said the moratorium and reduction of loan repayment instalments will continue to be offered by banks, although he did not state if there was a further extension.

Mahathir gave bigger power discount

Najib also said that the three-month 10% discount on electricity for six sectors was less than the six-month 15% discount former interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave last February.

He said what was worrying was that the two sen/kWh rebate was not a discount, but an adjustment of electricity charges based on a cost pass-through mechanism started by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

Najib said this was already announced by Tenaga Nasional on Dec 23, and this meant no discount was being given despite people having to stay at home during the MCO.

“This is why it is appropriate for the Perikatan Nasional government to give discounts on electricity of up to 30% as long as the MCO is in force.” – FMT