No lag in carrying out development projects, stimulus package, says Azmin

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will ensure that development projects approved for 2020 as well as initiatives under the economic stimulus package are implemented immediately, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

The economic affairs minister said the economic stimulus package is being fine-tuned in order to support economic growth while at the same time making the people’s wellbeing a priority.

In a press statement today, he said the stimulus package, aimed at reducing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, will address affected sectors such as tourism, transportation and manufacturing.

“To reduce these negative impacts, the government is taking proactive steps to further boost domestic economic activities besides continuing to encourage exports especially of healthcare, electrical and electronics, and palm oil-based products,” he added.

The government’s move to reduce toll rates and ensure stable petrol prices will also help ease the people’s cost of living burden and promote domestic tourism, he noted.

“The government will continue to monitor current developments to ensure economic growth remains strong besides guaranteeing the security, health and wellbeing of the people,” Azmin said.

He said the country’s economic performance for 2019 was better compared to several countries in the region. Malaysia’s economy grew at a moderate 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2019, with full-year growth at 4.3%.

“This trend is also seen as being in line with growth in other Asian countries. This moderation of economic growth follows the global growth slowdown due to the weakness in global trading activities,” he said.

Growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 was supported by encouraging domestic demand, especially private consumption which expanded by 8.1% compared to the 7.0% in the previous quarter.

“Private investment also recorded better growth at 4.2% compared to 0.3% in the preceding quarter. The services, manufacturing and construction sectors contributed to this growth,” he said.

Azmin noted that the moderation in growth this time was mainly due to the contraction of the agriculture sector as a result of the uncertain weather and reduced fertiliser application early last year, which had affected oil palm production.

“The mining sector also contracted but at a slower pace following production recovery at several plants which had been temporarily closed for scheduled maintenance works in the previous quarter,” he added.

The country’s international reserves position is still strong at RM424.1 bil or US$103.6 bil, sufficient to finance 7.5 months of retained imports. Foreign direct investment also continued to record net inflows of RM32.8 bil, as against RM32.6 bil in 2018. – Feb 13, 2020, Bernama

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