IPOH, Feb 29 — Sunway Malls and Theme Parks has applauded the Malaysian government for announcing the RM20 billion stimulus package to ease the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and bolster the economy.
Its chief executive officer HC Chan said that the package addresses immediate concerns on sectors that are hit the most while keeping a focus on long-term economic growth and robustness.
“Sunway Malls welcomes the initiatives conceived as they cover a broad spectrum from fiscal measures to monetary easing.
“We opine the restructuring of the payment period and 15 per cent electricity discount present an immediate stimulus for the mall industry, as it allows better cash-flow planning,” he said in a statement yesterday.
However, Chan suggested that the savings generated from the electricity discount should be ploughed back to encourage more consumer spending.
He said that this can be achieved via marketing programmes, shoppers’ rewards, tenants’ vouchers adoption and free parking to create a multiplier effect.
“Sunway Malls believes this approach is more financially sustainable for the industry,” he said.
“As for the prescription of rental rebate, this requires a longer observatory period to understand better and clearer its impact. We will however take cognisance of this and monitor the development more closely,” he added.
To stimulate consumer spending, Chan said that Sunway Malls is introducing a group-wide RM5 million marketing campaign from February 28 onwards with emphasis on sales drives that benefit retailers and consumers alike throughout their portfolio of seven malls.
“We recognise that a concerted and mass effort of this scale is required and need to be undertaken by the private sector too,” he said.
Chan also said that the easing of Employees Provident Funds (EPF) will allow greater disposable income up to RM10b at the hands of the consumer, which can stimulate more consumer spending.
“Sunway Malls opines that domestic tourism presents a better and viable business opportunity in these times whereby international travel sees a drop. We welcome any initiatives that drive local consumption.
“We believe the long-term outlook of the Malaysian economy will remain resilient due to strong economic fundamentals and with the expected containment of Covid-19 in the near term within, we foresee a rebound and normalisation in the coming quarters,” he said.
On Thursday, interim Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced a RM20 billion stimulus package to brace the economy against the effects of the coronavirus disease outbreak.
The package will have three main thrusts: Mitigating theh impact of Covid-19, spurring people-centric economic growth and encouraging quality investments in the country.
Among key measures announced under the 2020 Stimulus Package are a one-off RM600 cash handout to public transport workers, a monthly special allowance of RM400 for medical doctors and health workers, and RM200 for immigration officers.
Sectors given focus are small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and tourism, those most impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has claimed over 2,000 lives in China from where the novel coronavirus originated.
Dr Mahathir also announced a temporary six months 15 per cent discount on electricity bills for tourism agencies, hotels and carriers in a bid to boost tourism, among others, while hotels will be exempted from the new tourism tax and staff insurance contribution.
For SMEs, RM2 billion will be injected into a special assistance fund to provide low-interest rate loan while Bank Simpanan Nasional will provide RM200 million worth of microcredit at a 4 per cent interest rate.
All banks are required to reduce monetary burden in the form of postponement of payments or rescheduling of loans.