PUTRAJAYA, Jan 20: The government expects the country to lose RM600 million daily due to the latest movement control order (MCO 2.0), compared with the RM2.4 billion daily during the first MCO between March and May last year, finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said yesterday.

“This MCO is unlike the one in March last year as five essential sectors are still open. Also, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as stalls and stores can still operate,” he said at a media briefing on the Permai package here.

The five essential sectors are manufacturing, construction, services, trade and distribution, and plantations and commodities.

“Even though these sectors are still operating, we cannot leave things to chance. The duration of the MCO 2.0 depends on the control of Covid-19 case transmission,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said Permai is an improvement on the initiatives announced in the 2021 budget as well as ongoing initiatives in the Prihatin and Penjana packages.

He said Permai was also designed specifically for businesses that could not proceed as usual.

“For now, we are maintaining our gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection. This is also one of the reasons for Permai to be implemented,” he said.

He said Malaysia’s GDP recorded a contraction of 2.7% in the third quarter of 2020, which was among the best in Asean compared with Singapore (-7%), Indonesia (-3.5%) and the Philippines (-11.5%).

According to him, although the government has allocated RM15 billion with an additional fiscal injection of RM6.6 billion through Permai, its fiscal deficit projection has not changed from 5.4% thus far.

“The people need to understand that the government has done its best and regularly deliberates with the health ministry on the economic aspect to ensure the efforts are balanced,” he said.


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