KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The government’s move to freeze loan repayments for six months due to the coronavirus disease will provide relief worth RM100 billion to Malaysians, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The PM said the unprecedented move Bank Negara Malaysia announced last night was the government’s response to public concern about hardships they are enduring due to the movement control order in place until March 31.

“All measures to postpone loan repayments, restructure credit card debt and business loans involve a sum of around RM100 billion,” he said in a statement.

“This is a very significant amount, and I am grateful for the concern of the Finance Ministry, BNM, and Malaysia’s banking industry.”

Muhyiddin reiterated the measures announced yesterday, which include a six-month postponement of all individual and business loans for small-medium enterprises (SMEs), the option to convert existing credit card debt to personal loans, and the restructuring of corporate debt.

Previously, the PM also announced additional measures such as allowing Malaysians to withdraw RM500 monthly from their Account II savings with the Employees Provident Fund for a period of 12 months.

In his statement today, Muhyiddin repeated that he will announce additional measures to preserve Malaysia’s economy on March 30, following deliberations at the Economic Action Council.

“I have asked the Finance Ministry and BNM to fine-tune these announcements more carefully so that the public may better understand the benefits on offer,” he said.

Aside from the public health crisis, Covid-19 has effectively paralysed the global economy due to the lockdowns many countries including Malaysia have enforced to try and contain the extremely virulent disease.

Covid-19 is now present in 198 countries worldwide and resulted in 422,627 infections and 18,887 deaths globally.