'Pemerkasa' stimulus package worth RM20b launched
Published on: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
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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. (Photo: Bernama)
Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has announced a RM20 billion economic programme to jump-start the economy.

In a televised address, he said the initiative, known as “Pemerkasa”, involved a direct fiscal injection of RM11 billion, FMT reported.

Muhyiddin had previously announced six strategies to face Covid-19 and economic recovery, with the fifth strategy being “revitalising” the economy.

Since the pandemic hit the country last March, the government has introduced various economic packages and measures amounting to some RM300 billion.

Muhyiddin announced that the government would be increasing the budget for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme from RM3 billion to RM5 billion to speed up its target of achieving herd immunity by December.

“To achieve this target, 15,000 workers will be placed in almost 950 vaccination centres nationwide,” he said, adding that RM200 would be given to all civil servants involved in the programme every month.

To protect workers, Muhyiddin said the international trade and industry ministry would implement an initiative called [email protected] to ensure employers provide proper accommodation and office space for their workers.

He explained that companies registered under the [email protected] programme will be given the opportunity to isolate their workers identified as close contacts, by placing them in a “safe work bubble”.

Tax incentives of up to RM50,000 will be provided to manufacturing and services companies for expenses related to workers’ housing.

Muhyiddin also announced an increase in allocations for small-scale projects costing RM2.5 billion to RM5 billion, and that the government would simplify its project procurement process to facilitate the implementation of these projects.

He also said the government, through various agencies, would provide an additional RM500 million for microcredit facilities, on top of the RM1 billion allocated in the national budget.

The special Prihatin grant has been extended for the third time, where micro-businesses, as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can receive a one-off payment of RM1,000 from April 1.

The government will be expanding its recruitment incentives to include temporary and gig workers with an allocation of RM300 million for some 60,000 workers. Companies that are registered with the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and offering jobs to this group of workers will receive RM200 for each worker hired.

The Hiring Incentive Programme, PenjanaKerjaya, will also continue for six more months and trainees under the programme will receive an incentive of RM800 per month.

The wage subsidy programme will be extended for another three months, with a total of RM700 million allocated, namely for the tourism, wholesale trade and retail sectors, as well as other businesses that were closed during the MCO.

Muhyiddin also said Bank Negara has increased the Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility for SMEs by RM2 billion and facilities for automation and digitalisation by RM700 million. This brings the total amount of facilities provided by Bank Negara to SMEs to RM6 billion.

In an effort to encourage SMEs to adopt automation to help reduce their reliance on foreign workers, SME Bank will provide RM200 million worth of loans to finance the purchase of machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, the government will provide RM300 for households to purchase devices for their schooling children from May onwards.

“I urge telecommunication companies to offer affordable internet packages and continue to provide additional data quotas,” Muhyiddin said, adding that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would be launching a programme to collect and repair second-hand laptops before handing it out to “internet community centres”.

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