Tengku Zafrul is confident the growth target of 6.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent for 2021 can still be achieved, supported by all the stimulus measures created. AWANI file pic
KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said Malaysia will not implement a full economic closure despite the COVID-19 contagion rate continuing to soar.
On the other hand, he said, the targeted measures as implemented by the government at this time will be strengthened if the situation worsens.”For a worse scenario, we will employ targeted measures. We will not implement a full economic closure.
“We need to focus on more stringent compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs). Even if the number of infections decreases and we do not focus on strict SOPs, these figures could rise again,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
At the same time, Tengku Zafrul said the government would continue to monitor if there was a need to tighten the existing Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0.
“Even if we see a horizontal infection rate, we will continue to monitor before making any decision on whether to continue with existing restrictions,” he added.Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said the negative risks from the implementation of MCO still exist despite the government implementing stimulus measures, including allocating the largest 2021 Budget.
“There are risks. We will continue to control the spread of COVID-19 so that more economic sectors can be opened.”MCO 2.0 is different because 90 per cent of the economic sector that contributes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are opened. We just restrict social activities,” he said.
He is confident the growth target of 6.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent for 2021 can still be achieved, supported by all the stimulus measures created.Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said the target of the fiscal deficit remained at 5.4 per cent this year following large expenditure through stimulus packages.
“It is still too early to assess. If we need to inject more stimulus packages, the government will do so and it will definitely affect the fiscal deficit target.
“However, if it helps GDP growth and income, the (fiscal deficit) target will remain,” he said.