The RM45 Billon Economic Turnaround Plan And The Interest Payments Waivers For The Bottom 50% Of All Malaysians Are The Fruits Of Success For The People Benefiting From PH Signing The MOU With The Prime Minister.
DAP welcomes the Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz’s instruction to banking institutions on 14 September to work on the exemption from interest payments for recipients of the bank loan moratorium immediately following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) for Transformation and Stability between the Prime Minister and four top Pakatan Harapan Leaders in Parliament House on 13 September 2021. This is the first fruit of success for the people benefiting from PH signing the MOU with the Prime Minister.
One of the key requirements of the MOU is an interest payment waiver of the bank loan moratorium for the bottom 50% of all Malaysians, in terms of income classification, for a period of three months in the fourth quarter of 2021. I had spoken to Tengku Zafrul, after the signing of the MOU, to also consider SMEs who are in dire financial straits following the failed management of the twin national crisis of COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.
He had said that some 580,000 businesses, representing 49% of the SME sector, are at risk of failing by October if they are not allowed to operate by then. In other words, there is only one month left before the government must fully reopen the economy or else the SME sector will collapse.
The economic recession has scarred the lives of many Malaysians and the business community. The nearly 1 million SMEs comprise 98.5% of all business establishments and employ 7.3 million Malaysians in 2020, constituting 48.0 % of the national employment. Once the SMEs close, they will never come back and reopen, putting many Malaysians, especially those in the rural areas, out of jobs.
The banking industry is more than able to sustain any net modification losses from the interest payments waivers with tax profits of RM32.3 billion in 2019 and more than RM23 billion in 2020 as well as record profits this year despite the economic recession.
Another proposal embodied in the MOU to implement a RM45 billion Economic Turnaround Plan is being taken up by Tengku Zafrul, through raising the ceiling limit of the Covid-19 Fund by RM45 billion to RM110 billion from RM65 billion previously, as well as increasing the statutory limit of federal government debt from 60% to 65% of gross domestic product (GDP). This is the second fruit of success for the people benefiting from PH signing the MOU.
The extra RM45 billion that has long been advocated by PH and DAP, will help to strengthen the public health system, especially to curb the spread of Covid-19 and treat Covid-19 patients, improve direct cash assistance to the rakyat, and support business continuity, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as micro SMEs.
The execution of the MOU and the implementation of its terms and conditions are crucial to test the sincerity and commitment of the government to such reforms. Only by adhering and complying with the MOU, then we can focus the battle away from the destructive political numbers game and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession to save lives and livelihoods.
Lim Guan Eng