The government’s stimulus packages and the short-term economic recovery plan have softened the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and paved a path towards economic recovery, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said Malaysia is fortunate to have a very diversified economy that does not depend on just one or two sectors.

“In terms of policy-making, there has been a lot of coordination between the major economic agencies, driven by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,” he said.

He was commenting at the World Bank Malaysia Economic Monitor June 2020, with a special topic on Surviving the Storm in facing the challenges brought by the COVID-19 and economic crisis.

“We welcome the findings and recommendations of the newly released World Bank Malaysia Economic Monitor as it provides a cogent analysis of the current economic challenges and will help inform our efforts to accelerate the post-COVID19 economic recovery process,” he said.

In terms of policy response, he said, Malaysia has been very quick, and has been implementing for the last three months three packages by the current government and one from the previous government.

“With the implementation of these packages, we're able to cushion the COVID-19 impact,” he said.

“Firstly we're able to provide food for the people, no Malaysian family is unable to have access to food.

“Health has been a priority since day one, we have been very effective in preventing the pandemic, and we're fortunate that the economy is diversified, and to have a robust manufacturing sector and services, which has always been strong, (while) agriculture is coming up, mining and construction, are doing ok,” he said.

The government responded to the economic impact of the pandemic with two rounds of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package in February and March 2020, and more recently the Penjana Short-term Economic Recovery Plan.

On challenges in implementing the stimulus packages, Mustapa said the Ministry of Finance, under the Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (LAKSANA), has been monitoring all sectors.

“So in terms of platform mechanism, it has been put in place, to make sure help reaches the ground, as that’s a big challenge,” he said, noting the government has been providing lots of cash transfers to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the form of RM3,000 grants to micro-enterprises to restart their business.

The challenges include making sure the help goes to the ground and the incomplete data, said Mustapa.