Government to focus on improving purchasing power to restore people's wellbeing

PUTRAJAYA (Sept 24): The government will focus on efforts to restore the wellbeing of the people by improving the purchasing power of consumers and reaffirming the private sector as an important driving force for economic development, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

He said, since March 2020, the country had gone through a painful phase following the spread of Covid-19 that had a profound economic, social and psychological impact on the people.

The Prime Minister said the government had to learn new things every day not just to tackle the pandemic, but also to find the best ways to cushion its economic impact on the country which had also affected the people’s livelihood.

“The pandemic had impacted various sectors and industries, with the small- and medium-scale businesses being the most affected. Not a few are struggling, some even had to cease operations.

“I regret the difficulties, sufferings and hardships the people had to face while the country is struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic,” he said when launching the Rumah Ikram Keluarga Malaysia initiative at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT), here today.

Rumah Ikram Keluarga Malaysia is a housing initiative for those who have lost their sources of income to the extent of not being able to pay high rent.

Under the initiative, a number of units under the People’s Housing Project (PPR) in  Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan and Johor will be made available for them with a rent of RM124 per month for a maximum period of two years.

“Alhamdulillah, we are now on the right track towards economic recovery,” Ismail Sabri said.

He said the government will also continue implementing the strategic plan to increase the income and purchasing power of the people, especially those in the B40 group.

For medium and long-term plans, income generation and capacity building programmes, as well as efforts to increase access to basic necessities, including medication, health and housing, will be implemented.

On the development of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, Ismail Sabri said 81 per cent or 18.9 million of Malaysia’s adult population have been vaccinated as of Sept 22 and the vaccination for Form Four and Form Five students has also kicked off early this week as a preparation for the reopening of school next month.

He said based on the positive development, the government had given some relaxation to the fully vaccinated individuals to resume their economic and social activities.

Soon, Ismail Sabri said the country will enter the endemic phase where the people had to live with COVID-19 under the new norms and by continue practising the standard operating procedures.

“What’s important during the endemic phase is self-control. The onus is now on us to do accept and adopt the new normal way of life,” he said.

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