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KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s proposal to raise the ceiling cap for the Covid-19 Fund and the statutory debt limit is aimed at supporting the people and businesses during the reopening of the economy.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (pix) said the proposal will be implemented immediately after being approved by Parliament.

“With Parliament’s approval, we will raise the (ceiling limit) of the Covid-19 Fund from RM65 billion to RM110 billion, and the statutory national debt limit will be raised from 60% of the gross domestic product (GDP) to 65% of GDP,“ he said on RTM’s Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme today.

Tengku Zafrul said the government will continue to help traders, especially micro small and medium enterprises (SMES) and SMEs that have been adversely affected by the suspension of economic activities due to the pandemic, especially those in the retail and tourism sectors.

“In shaa Allah (God willing), we expect that by the end of this year, depending on the endemic situation, the people can go out, and businesses can resume their operations as usual but in accordance to the new norms,“ ​​he said.

He said the strategies outlined in the dynamic National Recovery Plan (NRP), which focuses on meeting economic and social needs, would help to guide Malaysia to come out from the Covid-19 crisis both systematically and safely.

The minister also advised traders and the people to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) when the economy reopens because there are still many Covid-19 cases in some sectors.

These clusters are triggered when certain segments of society become complacent and fail to observe SOPs when more economic sectors reopen, adding that this was quite evident when certain social activities were permitted recently, he said.

“These clusters emerge because we tend to think that things are back to normal and we do not have to comply with the SOPs any longer.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul highlighted that the Finance Ministry (MoF) has published a Budget 2022 Pre-Budget Statement – the first in the nation’s history, providing a preliminary overview of the direction, approach and expected benefits of Budget 2022.

“The MoF has always been open, giving all citizens the opportunity to engage with the ministry, and for the first time ever, the ministry had issued a public consultation paper to pay closer attention to the opinions of the external experts,” he said. – Bernama

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