MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, February 22, 2021

Stop policy of making 'sudden announcements' - Harapan


Pakatan Harapan said the government must stop its policy of making sudden announcements.

This is after the Education Ministry announced that schools would reopen beginning March 1, which it said was an abrupt turn-around.

It said parents are now facing the pressure of purchasing supplies for their schoolchildren.

“(It) leaves those who have bought tablets and laptops (for home learning) wondering whether they could have spent the money elsewhere.

“The policy of making these sudden announcements must end. The government must show that it really has a plan to save our ‘lost generation’ of children,” they said.

Schools had turned to online learning after the country was placed under the movement control order (MCO) on Jan 13, prompting a mad rush for online devices, which was particularly challenging for poorer families.

The joint statement was signed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

It was released following the Harapan presidential council meeting to discuss the state of affairs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the economic front, they noted the worse-than-expected gross domestic product contraction of 5.6 percent last year compared with the projected 4.5 percent.

“There is an urgent need to rescue, remake and reform the economy, far beyond the recently announced relief measures, which is grossly inadequate.

“The people need help, and a bold economic stimulus package of an additional RM45 billion is required, on top of the RM15 billion announced earlier this year.

“We are still awaiting Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s promised increase of monthly welfare aid to RM1,000, which should be extended to the unemployed,” they said.

The Harapan leaders said fundamentally, the best way to rescue the economy was to contain the pandemic.

They added that this would require increasing the current number of 50,000 to 70,000 daily Covid-19 test by five-folds.

They said this would cost RM2 billion to maintain over three months but added that it would be well worth it to bring the pandemic under control.

At present, they said businesses are hesitant to conduct regular Covid-19 tests due to the prohibitive cost and urged the government to provide subsidies.

They also called on the government to increase the wage subsidies.

“Businesses have had to live under MCO conditions for a year now, and most have depleted their cash reserves.

“We’re at risk of facing a wave of bankruptcies in the coming months without further support.

“At a minimum, the loan moratorium should be extended automatically and unconditionally, reducing the burden of fixed costs like rent and utilities with subsidies, loan credits and grants.

“The survival of these businesses and our national economy depends on it,” said the trio.

The Harapan leaders also called for the suspension of Parliament to be lifted so that the legislature can play its role in instituting reforms. - Mkini

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