KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — The tourism sector suffered losses estimated at RM3.37 billion in the first two months of this year due to COVID-19, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said the government also estimated the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2020 would fall by 0.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent — or RM10.8 billion to RM17.3 billion — which translated to a GDP growth of 3.6 per cent to 4.0 per cent. It was previously forecast that the GDP would grow by up to 4.8 per cent.
In a special address aired tonight, the prime minister said the virus outbreak resulted in the cancellation of many tourism packages, affecting those working in the airline and hospitality industries.
Muhyiddin said the most affected sectors were tourism, small and medium industries, and transport.
“I recognise that the government needs to implement immediate measures to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on the country’s economy, especially the people.
“Therefore, the government will ensure the implementation of the announced economic stimulus package will be monitored so that the effects will be quickly felt by everyone,” he said.
On Feb 27, the then-interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced a RM20 billion economic stimulus package to ensure economic risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak was effectively addressed.