PUTRAJAYA: It is imperative for the government to strike a balance between safeguarding Malaysia’s economy and protecting the people from being infected by the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this has led to the setting up of a Special Cabinet Committee that will formulate strategic measures to ensure the economy remains resilient against the global market uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

“The government is aware of the woes beleaguering the business community after they were unable to operate (due to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order).

“At the same time, we are doing all that we can to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission as the health and safety of the people is our priority.

“Hence, the government believes that there is a need to strike a balance between the safety of the people and safeguarding the economy of the nation, individual and companies,” Ismail, who is also Defence Minister, said.

He was asked to comment on the World Bank’s forecast which has lowered Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) target to -0.1 per cent this year following the uncertainty from the overall impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry, in a statement earlier today, said the Special Cabinet Committee would be developing strategic measures to safeguard Malaysia’s economy and labour market affected by Covid-19.

Jointly chaired by Ismail and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is also a Senior Minister, the committee would focus on measures to sustain Malaysia’s economic engines particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and ensure effective mitigation efforts in addressing displacement of labour force among Malaysians.

The committee’s inception also reflects the government’s quick response to address issues highlighted by the rakyat and the Malaysian business community.

The committee would be engaging with industry players from various sectors to gather insights from people on the ground.

“This effort is key to ensure the committee will address specific issues facing the business community particularly, SMEs, manufacturers and investors,”

The committee is scheduled to convene on Friday before holding its second meeting on Sunday.

It will then report its recommendations to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during the Economic Action Council (EAC) meeting on April 6.

Source :