Anwar praises RM250bil stimulus but wants it debated in Parliament

Anwar Ibrahim says the funds to the needy must be handled by “honest people” with an unblemished record.

GEORGE TOWN: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today said he was happy with the government’s RM250 billion economic stimulus package to combat the effects of the Covid-19 scourge but wanted it to be brought to Parliament to be further refined.

He said this was to ensure there were no losses or leaks and the funds to the needy were handled by “honest people” with an unblemished record.

Anwar said in developed countries, economic stimulus packages were presented in Parliament so that there would be oversight over the funds, including discussing how the funds are to be obtained and how debts would be settled.

“The devil is in the details. The question is will the money go directly (to the people who need them)? Will there be wastage or leaks along the way or ‘rompakan kecil-kecilan’?

“The funds should not be handled by politicians or those with a bad record,” the former finance minister said in a video uploaded onto his Facebook page today.

Anwar praised the stimulus plan for allocating a large budget for the health ministry at RM1 billion and other incentives for frontliners, such as healthcare workers and security forces.

He said many were upset with the previous “secebis” (piecemeal) stimulus plan which he said was hurriedly put together and did not cover all aspects.

Anwar said the moratorium of six months for loan payments was also welcome but felt the deferred interest rate payments could have been done away with.

“Imagine businesses which are suffering losses. After six months they have to pay their dues again with added interest. Bank Negara must do something to do away with interest during this period.”

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today announced an economic stimulus package of RM250 billion to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, more than 10 times the RM20 billion allocated by his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad last month.

This comprises RM128 billion for the people’s welfare, RM100 billion for businesses and SMEs, and RM2 billion to strengthen the economy, aside from the RM20 billion announced earlier in the previous package.