Priority during MCO is to ensure food for everyone, says deputy minister

Deputy Finance Minister I Rahim Bakri says the federal government is pro-business and business owners’ views would be taken into account when formulating the 2021 national budget. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Business owners should not be overly concerned during the movement control order (MCO) period, Deputy Finance Minister I Rahim Bakri said.

He said the primary focus of the federal government now was to assist those affected by the directive and to make sure “everyone has food on their table”.

Rahim said the RM250 billion federal stimulus package should not be viewed only as giving direct cash aid to individuals.

He said the business community should also see it as a move that would directly profit them, especially in the retail sector.

“Such aid increases the disposable income of the households and indirectly profits those in business via transactions and its multiplier effect,” he said here today.

“We believe that Malaysia’s economic standing has been good for many years previously and many companies have reaped quite a good profit. We are also certain that these firms have established their own reserves to face the risks of an economic downturn,” he said.

Saying he was aware that some groups were criticising the stimulus package, Rahim added that such negativity would undermine the good initiative of the government.

He said the business community should not worry as Putrajaya had taken note of their concerns.

Rahim said the Perikatan Nasional federal government was pro-business and that business owners’ views would be taken into account when formulating the 2021 national budget.

For now, he said there were other venues for businessmen to cushion the impact of the MCO on their businesses as had been specified in the stimulus package.

This included the six-month loan deferment under the financial facility, targeted at small and medium enterprises, as well as the RM600 salary subsidy to businesses that had lost over 50% of their revenue since Jan 1. He said companies could also reschedule their loans.

He said there were also other government facilities and programmes that businessmen could tap into.