Government cautiously optimistic on economic forecast, says deputy minister

File picture shows International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming speaking to the press during the 2019 Innovate Malaysia Design Competition at Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Lembah Permai, Penang, July 22, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
File picture shows International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming speaking to the press during the 2019 Innovate Malaysia Design Competition at Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Lembah Permai, Penang, July 22, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — The government is “cautiously optimistic” about the 2020 economic growth forecast and is ready to tackle the novel coronavirus situation accordingly, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said.

He pointed out that in Malaysia as well as globally, the situation is under control, although new cases are recorded daily.

“Many of those admitted due to the virus have recovered and discharged. The fatality rate is also low. On the economic front, we see a short-term impact but not long-term,” he said at the Chinese New Year CEO Dinner organised by Enterprise Asia here tonight.

The government has projected a gross domestic product growth of 4.8 per cent in 2020.

Ong said the government is ready to deploy a stimulus package to enhance the local economy amid concerns on the coronavirus.

Yesterday, the cabinet directed the Finance Ministry to come up with an economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry is scheduled to hold a meeting with other relevant ministries and industry players to determine the requirements for the stimulus package.

Ong noted that the government has allocated RM5 billion over the span of five years to attract more foreign companies to invest in the country.

“Besides attracting foreign investments, we also have allocated another RM5 billion over the next five years to boost local companies that seek export opportunities globally,” he said.

Last month, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority announced that Malaysia registered RM149 billion in approved investments for the first nine months of 2019.

The agency expects total approved investments for 2019 to surpass the 2018 figure of RM204.3 billion. — Bernama

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