KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The government will focus on two main thrusts to support the economic growth momentum this year, namely creating jobs and helping entrepreneurs to grow, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
He said this entails the creation of 600,000 job opportunities under the RM4.8 billion JaminKerja initiative to help in the Keluarga Malaysia income recovery, as well as the RM40 billion SemarakNiaga initiative for entrepreneurs.
“The government will also closely monitor any inflationary pressures, especially on food items, and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to alleviate the people’s concerns about their survival,” he said on Astro Awani’s Awani Agenda programme on the topic “Keluarga Malaysia’s Economic Resilience” today.
Tengku Zafrul said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the government have always been responsive in ensuring that the entire Keluarga Malaysia and business communities are well-supported, especially towards strengthening the country’s economic recovery.
He highlighted that the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.1 per cent in 2021 compared to the 5.6 per cent contraction in 2020, thus reflecting the effectiveness of the government’s aid and economic stimulus packages totalling RM530 billion.
“The growth was also supported by the success of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), which has been further enhanced by booster doses and the expansion of the programme to include children.
“Additionally, it was also supported by the systematic National Recovery Plan where all states have successfully transitioned to Phase 4; and almost all economic sectors and social activities have been allowed to resume,” he said.
The finance minister noted that in terms of sectoral growth, the manufacturing sector took the lead with a growth of almost 10 per cent, followed by the services sector (+1.9 per cent) and the mining and quarrying sector (+0.7 per cent).
“Meanwhile, other sectors recorded a lower contraction rate, thus reflecting the country’s recovery,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul said the unemployment rate had also dropped to 4.2 per cent at end-December 2021 from a high of 5.3 per cent in May 2020.
“This clearly shows that the government’s initiatives towards job creation have been effective, supported by foreign trade which exceeded RM2 trillion as well as the net foreign direct investments which stood at more than RM50 billion in 2021.
“So, with all the initiatives and plans made under Budget 2022, we project that the GDP will grow between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent in 2022,” he said.
He noted that Budget 2022 was Malaysia’s largest budget to date, with an allocation of RM332.5 billion, reflecting the government’s commitment to not compromise in ensuring the well-being of all Malaysian families and business continuity through an expansionary fiscal policy.
“However, the provision of allocations and measures alone would not be enough. We need to ensure the effectiveness and delivery of the Budget 2022 initiatives.
“To this end, the Budget 2022 Monitoring Committee chaired by the prime minister has been established to monitor the implementation and performance of various Budget 2022 initiatives and recommend appropriate solutions and interventions to ensure the smooth implementation of the initiatives,” he added. — Bernama