KUCHING, March 23 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today announced 16 proactive measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and protect the well-being of Sarawakians under Pakej Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang.
He said the measures will involve a total of RM1,154.54 million in injections to the state’s economy.
“The total involves direct expenditure by the Sarawak government of RM974.75 million to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown and reduce the burden of Sarawakians.
“This is further supplemented by the deferment of loan repayments, waiver of payments and discounts of Sarawak government basic services of RM179.79 million for the year 2020,” he told reporters after chairing a state ministerial meeting here.
He said Pakej Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang is a balanced people- and business-centric model to cushion the impact of the economic slowdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
“At the same time, this is over and above of our continuous efforts to steer the Sarawak economy towards a developed state by 2030,” he said, adding that the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government shares the pain of the people during this trying time.
“We do not know when this pandemic will end but let us go through this together for Sarawak.
“Let us pray for the betterment of Sarawak. I would like to take this opportunity to plea to our people to stay at home and abide by the movement control order.
“The Sarawak GPS government is a caring government and we are here to be with the people especially the ones hardest hit by the pandemic, especially our traders, hawkers, night market traders and vendors, tamu and bazaar Ramadan operators,” he said.
He said the global economy has been faced with many challenging situations over the years.
“Uncertainty over prolonged trade tensions between the United States and China has slowed down the global economy and dampened trade performance since 2018.
“The situation is now made worse by Covid-19 pandemic.
“Malaysia is not spared from this outbreak and the global economic uncertainty,” he said, adding that the national economy has experienced the slowest growth of 3.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019.
“This is due to slower performance in trade, disruptions to commodity supplies and lower investments.
“This will have a negative impact on Sarawak’s economy and the wellbeing of its people.
“This is a state-funded initiative on top of what the federal government has announced earlier.
“This is GPS government’s proactive measure towards the wellbeing of Sarawakians,” he said.