Don’t hijack fiscal injection agreed in MOU for political purposes - Guan Eng
21 Oct 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KUALA LUMPUR: The additional RM45 billion fiscal injection into the economy agreed to by the government in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Prime Minister and Pakatan Harapan must not be hijacked for political purposes to fulfil their pet projects, said Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng.
Lim who is also DAP secretary-general said that instead it must be given out in the form of direct grants to small medium enterprises (SMEs), tourism and construction industry that lost a total of RM213 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The necessary legislation has been permitted to be passed in Parliament recently to increase the COVID-19 Development Fund by RM45 billion as well as raise the government's statutory debt limit from 60 to 65 per cent.
“The country recorded more than RM500 billion in economic losses since the first total lockdowns were imposed last year,” he said in a statement today.
Lim added that according to the Department of Statistics, tourism sector is the worst hit with RM130 billion losses in 2020 and even higher losses are expected this year.
Meanwhile, Works Minister Fadillah Yusof had told Parliament that the construction sector lost RM42 billion during lockdowns imposed since last year. Then Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said on July 29 that SMEs have suffered a total loss of RM40.7 billion.
“In 2020. DAP had suggested that the three months interest rate waiver for the poorest 50 per cent of the population should also include 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.
“Even if the government is not considering interest rate waivers, they should consider a reduction of interest rate by at least 2 per cent for the beleaguered SMEs, construction and tourism industry.
“In the meantime, there is an urgency to release these RM45 billion in funds to the SMEs, tourism and construction industry as soon as possible to allay concerns that these funds may be utilised for political purposes, particularly with the upcoming Melaka state general elections.