Kuala Lumpur – Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin expects the country’s economic situation to improve this year, in line with the government action and the recovery of economic activity and world trade despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Malaysia is on the right track in economic planning and management towards stronger and sustainable growth and it is beginning to show a positive impact.
“We’re already seeing results from our plans. One … maybe COVID-19 hasn’t been resolved yet. But our economy is already showing signs of improvement. Our exports are increasing, our imports are increasing, (and) the number of workers employed has reached 150,000, much higher than the scheduled 120,000.
“The projections of international bodies, our experts and Bank Negara … we will see a growth of 6.5 to 7.0 per cent this year. It takes four to seven months to see its achievement,” he said in a ‘Bicara Khas Eksklusif’ interview on RTM TV1 and Bernama TV on Sunday.
Muhyiddin said the government had sought to balance between the importance of public health and the need for economic growth during the third Movement Control Order (MCO 3.0), similar to that of MCO 2.0 where the impact on growth was expected to be less severe as most economic sectors were still allowed to operate.
“We’d started early just like last year. Our move in enforcing MCO by not closing everything is because we’re thinking ahead.
“Come to think of it today, we should have closed everything. But we need to take care of the lives, the future of the people, their income, their work,” he said.
The Prime Minister also commented on the huge expenditure incurred in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes the rakyat easily forget but this was one of the biggest packages in the history of the country, it doesn’t stop there, we will work and do what is right,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the implementation of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme will lift sentiment and contribute towards the recovery of economic activity.
“By the end of this year, we are targeting the rakyat to be vaccinated. The target is to achieve 80 per cent herd immunity. We hope with (vaccine) protection, the economy will recover and we hope 2022 will be a better,” he said.
Commenting on the badly-hit tourism sector, the Prime Minister expects the Malaysian tourism industry will take three to four years to recover and at the same time there were initiatives mobilised by the government to rebuild the industry.
“This sector is most affected as we can’t cross the national borders and foreign tourists aren’t welcome. Many hotels are closed, homestays have to stop operations. Taxis and buses carrying tourists are crippled.
“Hence, I’ve asked the Ministry of Finance to help them as there’re purchases (of) such as taxis made not through bank loans, instead through leasing companies that have no moratorium,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the government had started negotiations to grant entry to Chinese and ASEAN tourists through the green lane when the situation permits, as well as help the creative industry to invigorate the tourism industry. – Bernama