KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Despite the challenges brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic and local political turmoil that could possibly have jeopardised the stability of Malaysia’s economy, the great leadership shown by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has helped the country to sail through the storm smoothly.
Prof Madya Dr Md Daud Ismail, the Deputy Dean for Partnership and Income Generation at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said as a country with an open economy and that relies on export-oriented growth, Malaysia is facing an even greater challenge due to the change in political power in the government amidst the fight against COVID-19 and disrupted global supply chain.
However, the bipartisan efforts undertaken in combating COVID-19, led by Muhyiddin, have greatly contributed to the success of its economy that performs better compared to many other countries.
“Looking at what happened in Malaysia and in other countries that have similar issues of health and political crises, these 100 days has been very smooth in terms of the government managing the country.
“With the exception of a few, most Malaysians (from all walks of life) were very calm and patient in facing the crisis despite the growth in unemployment and business closures, as well as disruptions in their daily lives…resulting in the new normal.
“All the efforts and initiatives implemented during Muhyiddin’s 100-day premiership could lay a platform for a better economy in the future,” he told Bernama when asked to comment on Muhyiddin’s first 100 days in office as the prime minister.
The Bersatu president, 72, took his oath of office before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on March 1, 2020.
Md Daud said the political scenario in Malaysia was relatively calm and had posed no major threat and disruption to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The ability to work with people across sectors, agencies, political parties, and individuals efficiently, despite their different backgrounds, leading the team toward common purposes, and effectively communicate the initiatives and policies to the people were among the main attributes of the current government led by the prime minister, he said.
“These are major achievements for the prime minister in his first 100 days in the office,” he reckoned.
Following the advice of health experts, the government has introduced several initiatives and policies to control the people’s movement so as to contain the COVID-19 spread.
In terms of policy implementation, the coordination between various ministries and government agencies was very smooth and effective, supported by centralised and efficient communication channels that effectively send the intended message to the population.
The government has also announced a short-term stimulus package, the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package, amounting to RM260 billion, with the objective of protecting the people, supporting businesses and strengthening the economy.
Md Daud said this package was comparable to the stimulus package introduced by more advanced economies.
Although some industries such as the tourism sector received little benefits, for many economic sectors, the stimulus package is a welcome relief.
On June 6, the government announced another comprehensive stimulus package named the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) which features 40 initiatives worth RM35 billion to empower the people, propel businesses and stimulate the economy adversely affected by COVID-19.