KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng today reiterated his call to the government for a financial injection to the depleting Covid-19 fund, which he claims has just RM8.6 billion left.
He said the balance of what started out as a fund of RM65 billion won’t be sufficient to continue the country’s war against the viral disease or help the economy recover in the remainder of the year.
“With the Covid-19 situation now worse in the second half than the first half of the year despite the Emergency and series of movement control orders (MCOs), more than RM18.4 billion spent for the first half of the year is required for the remaining six months of the year.
“Instead, the government has only RM8.6 billion left to spend,” he said in a statement.
Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, has repeatedly urged the Perikatan Nasional government to urgently inject RM45 billion to top up the RM65 billion Covid-19 fund which is nearly exhausted.
“More funds are needed especially to accelerate vaccination, implementing mass test screening of Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support plus vaccination (FTTIS+V) as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as ensure our hospitals and health services are fully manned and funded with sufficient ICU (intensive care unit) beds, medicines, and facilities to care for sick patients.
“Of particular concern is that our health system is on the verge of breaking point, if not collapsed completely, with many hospitals unable to cope and even ensure physical distancing to prevent Covid-19 infections,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Finance has disclosed that it used RM38 billion in 2020, RM9.1 billion in the first quarter of this year, and another RM9.3 billion in the second quarter.
Lim said the total spent to date amounts to RM56.4 billion.
“If RM38 billion can be spent to battle Covid-19 and on financial aid in 2020, RM27 billion for 2021 is definitely insufficient.
“What is required is an immediate injection of RM45 billion to save lives and livelihood. The Prime Minister must act and act now,” he said.
On August 13, former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had pledged to add RM45 billion on top of the RM65 billion that was approved by the Parliament last year, making the total Covid-19 fund RM110 billion.