KUALA LUMPUR, 14 May 2020 – Malaysia’s economy eked out its slowest growth in a decade to start the year, with the second quarter expected to be even tougher. The largest set of stimulus measures in Southeast Asia will be put to the test to keep the economy afloat.
The government has unveiled incentives worth RM260 billion (US$60 billion), more than 17% of gross domestic product, to reduce job losses and ensure small businesses can continue operating amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank Negara Malaysia expects the economy to contract in the second quarter as industries suffer the brunt of a lockdown that started March 18 and is set to end June 9. The stimulus measures and a gradual lifting of the lockdown will see activity improve in the second half of the year, leading to positive growth in 2021, the central bank said Wednesday.
Here are some numbers showing how the incentives are flowing through the economy:
The proportion of Malaysians, including the poorest 40% and those unmarried, who have received government cash handouts totaling RM11 billion as of May 10
The number of workers that have benefited from a wage subsidy — of which RM2.1 billion has been disbursed — to help employers pay salaries despite restrictions on economic activity
Bank Negara Malaysia’s allocation for a low-interest loan facility for small businesses, which was boosted from RM2 billion due to demand. Participating banks have approved 20,000 applications
The number of people who have withdrawn a total of RM1.76 billion from their state pensions. Many people have taken up the offer to lower their monthly retirement contributions, leaving an additional RM954.7 million of funds in their hands
The amount of benefits borrowers should get from a six-month moratorium on repaying bank loans — the biggest component of the stimulus package. Backlash against the measure was fueled by confusion over whether interest would accrue on deferred payments