Muhyiddin announces new council to tackle economic woes

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today announced an Economic Action Council to study the economic slowdown amid plunging crude oil prices.

He said it would comprise senior minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mustapa Mohamed, representatives from Bank Negara and several other experts.

“It will meet every week on Monday. The discussions will be forwarded, and if necessary, brought to the Cabinet meetings held every Wednesday,” he told reporters after chairing his first Cabinet meeting here.

He said the new government acknowledges the problems faced by the B40 group in terms of cost of living, while the Cabinet has also agreed to review the stimulus package launched to cushion the economic impact of Covid-19.

He said the finance minister would review the RM20 billion stimulus package announced by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to see if it would be enough to stimulate the market.

Muhyiddin, who was sworn in on March 1, said foreign investors are also waiting to see the direction of the new government.

“Because we do not have a manifesto, we have decided that every ministry will suggest doable and low-hanging fruits which will benefit the people immediately,” he said.

He also gave his assurance that the government would be for all people.

“We are not focusing only on a selected few,” he said. “It is for all races. We will work for all Malaysians. We will be fair to all.

“Whoever needs help, we will help.”

He said the Perikatan Nasional government would “look into everything”, including options for the goods and services tax (GST) and sales and services tax (SST).

The 6% GST was scrapped by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and replaced with the SST.

On the country’s RM1 trillion debt, he said the government would do its best although it was a big task to handle.

When asked for updates on the mega projects approved by PH, he said the ministries concerned would inform him if any of them should be terminated or continued.

During the first Cabinet meeting, he said, they had spoken on the direction of the government.

“I reminded all ministers to commit to fighting corruption, and to practise the highest integrity,” he said.