On 24 April 2020, IDEAS’ Webinar series continued with the fifth event, titled A Conversation with YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed – “Post COVID-19 Recovery Plan: The Role of the Economic Action Council”. As we enter the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), we think it is time for public discussions to transition from stop-gap stimulus measures to a more sustainable economic plan that will pave the way to recovery. IDEAS’ Chief Executive Officer, Ali Salman moderated this special occasion with our esteemed speaker, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Affairs).
In his opening remarks, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa gave us a brief introduction to the Economic Action Council. It was established right after the Perikatan Nasional government was formed. The main objective of the council’s establishment was to monitor Malaysia’s economic development. The council was also expected to respond very quickly to the situation and come up with comprehensive strategies when it comes to economy and development. The council has come up with 2 stimulus packages, in addition to 1 package announced by the Pakatan Harapan government. They also have been getting feedback from the ground especially B40 group and micro enterprises.
On the subject of Movement Control Order (MCO), YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa elaborated that the opening of sectors had been done in 2 phases. The first phase was for the essential services such as food, pharmaceutical and medicines, utilities and electrical and electronics. The second phase was done for 8 sectors which included construction and aerospace. These opening of sectors were done in consultation with the Ministry of Health and followed a very strict protocol. Actions have been taken against individuals and companies who have transgressed MCO. He did not reject the possibility of relaxing MCO as demographically, they are signs the situation is getting better and it makes sense for the authority to consider the opening up of the economy and sectors but it is still under the purview of the Ministry of Health.
He also explained the roles GLCs have played in this tumultuous period. The 3 economic stimulus packages announced by the government were the result of public and private sectors coming together. GLCs have contributed to the COVID-19 fund and some have come up with their own initiatives and programmes. Meanwhile, EPF and SOCSO have shouldered big responsibilities compared to other GLCs.
Moving forward post-COVID-19, the government will be continuing with the 12th Malaysia Plan done by the previous government, with slight realignment. They will return to the drawing board in terms of the forecast, economic growth and allocations due to the unprecedented effect of the pandemic. Plus, Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV30) will remain intact and will be the main agenda of the government for the next 10 years. However, there will be some changes for the strategies. Lastly, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa reiterated that the government is not considering selling government’s assets for now as according to him, it is not a good option since the prices are too low.
For those who missed the webinar session and would like to watch it, the video recording of the webinar is available below.