KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The government is forming a trust fund to assist coronavirus patients in Malaysia whose means of employment have been affected by the outbreak.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said his administration wants to provide monetary aid to those who lost their earnings after being quarantined while undergoing Covid-19 treatment.
The trust fund is to be launched soon, he told reporters after chairing his first weekly Cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.
“Donate lah whatever you have to help, not just the government, but the people who have been affected by the disease or quarantined, so their lives are not affected,” he appealed to the public.
“The government has also agreed, at this early stage, (to pledge) RM1 million,” he added, and promised that the funds would go directly to those who were affected.
A similar fund was launched when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power previously, dubbed “Tabung Harapan”, with the aim of helping the federal government settle the country’s national debt of more than RM1 trillion.
A total of RM205,491,219, including interest, was collected in total, all of which were used to pay off 1MDB debts, according to then-Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng last November. The fund stopped accepting donations by this time.
Muhyiddin today said his government takes the issue of Covid-19 spread seriously, and noted that it has greatly affected the country’s economy as well.
One hundred and twenty-nine people have been affected in Malaysia, while thousands around the world have been infected and died, most of which were reported in China, the centre of the outbreak.
Reports suggest that the Covid-19 outbreak could cost the country’s economy at least RM5.9 billion this year, with the figure expected to rise higher if authorities around the world fail to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said each federal ministry and agency will present “doables” to the Cabinet that can be implemented soon benefit the people immediately, noting that Perikatan Nasional has no manifesto promises or pre-election pledges to fulfil.
“When this is completed, we will inform the people what is stipulated in this government’s (objectives), maybe we will say ‘due deal formulation’.
“This we will announce as soon as possible, as soon as we’ve managed to compile (a list of) items that we will pay attention to and prioritise, maybe in a year (and to be put to practice) before this term ends, before the general elections.”