Government announces measures to alleviate financial plight of Malaysians and to fight Covid-19

The Prime Minister of Malaysia announced on 23 March 2020, four measures to –
  1. help ease the financial burden faced by Malaysians affected by the economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by the measures in the Movement Control Order (MCO) implemented by the Malaysian Government to contain the Covid-19 outbreak; and
  1. enhance the financial resources available to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.
The four measures are –
  1. Contributors to the Employees Provident Fund below 55 years of age can apply to withdraw up to RM500 per month from their Account 2 for a period of 12 months commencing 1 April 2020. This measure is anticipated to benefit about 12 million contributors who can withdraw in total up to approximately RM40 billion;
  1. The three months postponement given to borrowers of study loans under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) scheme to repay their loans will be extended by a further three months until 30 September 2020. This measure is expected to benefit approximately 1.5 million borrowers under the scheme;
  1. The Government will channel an additional RM500 million to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to support the fight against Covid-19. This allocation is to be used for the purchase of medical equipment such as ventilators, equipment for intensive care units, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The Prime Minister added that the purchase of critical equipment will be expedited via emergency procurement procedures.
In addition to the above, a sum of RM100 million will be set aside for the MOH to appoint 2,000 new contract staff, in particular nursing staff.
  1. A sum of RM130 million will be channelled to assist States Governments to cope with Covid-19. This amount is intended to assist hawkers and small traders affected by the Covid-19 crisis, assist Covid-19 patients and their families, and to address the needs of State level officers involved in handling this crisis. 
The Prime Minister added that the above measures are part of a comprehensive Economic Stimulus Package and People’s Aid (Pakej Rangsangan Ekonomi dan Bantuan Rakyat) to be announced on 30 March 2020.
These measures are also in addition to the RM20 billion 2020 Economic Stimulus Package announced by the Government on 27 February 2020. For a summary of these earlier measures, click here.