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KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 -- The economic sectors that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have started to gain momentum particularly the local tourism sector, and if this trend continues, Malaysia's economy will recover much faster, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
He said this can be achieved if the people practise the new normal by adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been set.
Nevertheless, he said the government would be forced to reimpose more stricter steps if the people are complacent in observing the SOPs and if infection cases increased.
“If the Movement Control Order (MCO) is tightened, the country's economy will be hit badly,” he said in a special address on the latest developments on the Recovery MCO today, which was telecast live on RTM, Bernama, TV3 and Astro Awani.
“The closure of all economic sectors can cause the country to lose at least RM2 billion per day and would directly result in the loss of income sources for millions of workers in Malaysia.”
Previously, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has projected the country to register economic growth of -2 per cent to 0.5 per cent this year, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected -3.8 per cent, and the World Bank -3.1 per cent.
The Prime Minister has also expressed concerns following the emergence of four new clusters since July 7, in Sarawak, Melaka, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur.
“Besides that, since July 7, 2020, there have been four new clusters detected among those who return from overseas, namely the cluster in Sarawak totalling three cases, Melaka (five cases), Terengganu (three) and the cluster in Kuala Lumpur involving two cases.”
Muhyiddin said he is always monitoring the latest situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is still not over. Many foreign countries are still recording high COVID-19 cases. Until last night, close to 14.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 virus worldwide with more than 600,000 deaths recorded.”
The government has announced economic stimulus package -- Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN), PRIHATIN (additional measures) and the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) totalling RM295 billion for the wellbeing of the people and business continuity during this difficult period.
More than 2.75 million jobs have been saved under the wage subsidy and worker retention programmes.
“What is more important is how we can get out of this crisis and restore the people's health and the nation's economy immediately,” he said.
Towards that end, the Prime Minister advised the people not to be careless and negligent.
“I want to remind once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over. Hence, we must be consistent in maintaining our success in our fight against COVID-19," he added.