KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 -- As part of an effort to continuously support the recovery process, the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy or PEMERKASA worth RM20 billion, along with a new fiscal injection by the government amounting to RM11 billion, was launched Wednesday.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said PEMERKASA would focus on 20 strategic initiatives to boost economic growth, support business, and continue targeted assistance to the people and sectors that are still affected.
"Our country is currently in the fifth stage of the 6R Strategy (Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalise, and Reform) of the Comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan, namely, ‘Revitalise’ or empower the economy.
"At this stage, the economic recovery strategy is focused on efforts to boost and revive economic activity, or jump start the economy," he said when announcing PEMERKASA which has five main focuses.
To date, the government has announced six assistance packages, namely PRIHATIN worth RM250 billion, PRIHATIN SMEs (RM10 billion), PENJANA (RM35 billion), Kita PRIHATIN (RM10 billion), PERMAI (RM15 billion). With the inclusion of PEMERKASA (RM20 billion), the total value of the aid packages amounted to RM340 billion.
The five focuses of PEMERKASA are to curtail the spread of COVID-19, drive economic recovery, strengthen national competitiveness, ensure a regional and community inclusion agenda, and transform the economy.
Among the initiatives laid out in PEMERKASA is to increase the allocation for the immunsation programme to RM5 billion from RM3 billion to accelerate the group immunisation target to December 2021 from the initial target of the first quarter of 2022.
Muhyiddin said the government was also committed to reviving the affected economic sectors through the immediate implementation of development projects, the provision of wage incentive, as well as the provision of tax incentives and micro-credit financing facilities.
“The government has agreed to increase the allocation for small-scale projects in 2021 to RM5 billion from RM2.5 billion. Among small projects that will be dedicated to class G1 to G4 contractors are repairs such as infrastructure and public facilities damaged due to floods.
“Apart from that, micro-credit facilities will also be provided, among others, through Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), a RM300 million fund will be provided with a financing limit of up to RM50,000, where the interest rate has been reduced to 3.0 per cent from 3.5 per cent,” said Muhyiddin.
“TEKUN Nasional will introduce the TEKUN POS-prenuer programme where applicants can generate income through delivery contracts,” he said.
SME Corporation is also involved and will provide RM50 million to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) obtain financing of up to RM250,000 at an interest rate as low as 3.0 per cent, said Muhyiddin.
The Prime Minister also announced initiatives to revitalise the tourism and retail sectors with various tax exemptions and deferment of income tax installment payments.
To further encourage companies to raise funds through the stock market, listing-related fees will be waived for 12 months for companies applying for listing on the Main, LEAP or ACE markets.
The government also approved a matching grant of RM30 million to encourage investment in the mechanisation and automation of the palm oil industry.
"The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will continue to explore new export potentials, as well as encourage the use of automation and mechanisation among industry players," he said.
The government will also allocate RM1.2 billion to 2.4 million recipients from the B40 group, who have lost their income, to obtain assistance such as a one-off assistance of RM500.
"For individuals with bankrupt status, the Malaysian Insolvency Department will facilitate their dealings with the bank in receiving government assistance," said Muhyiddin.
He said the government has always strived to ensure that all sections of the community could be helped during this difficult period, including the homeless.
Therefore, initiatives such as temporary shelters will be provided.
"Assistance for kitchen items with an allocation of RM100 million is expected to benefit 300,000 poor households in major cities across the country," he said.
The government has also agreed to increase the maximum salary eligibility limit for Disabled Workers Allowance to RM1,500 from RM1,200 per month.
Muhyiddin said the government had done its best to ensure that no community group was left out of the benefits.
PEMERKASA is another government initiative to alleviate the burden of the people, re-strengthen economic growth and boost business activities.
“The Perikatan Nasional government will always listen and care about the plight of the people," said Muhyiddin.
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