Economic package unveiled

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government dialled down its projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2009 from 5.4% to 3.5%, but said it would inject RM7bil to strengthen the economy and boost confidence within the private sector.

The RM7bil will come mainly from savings earned from the reduction of fuel subsidies announced earlier this year, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament here on Tuesday when announcing the Government’s economic stimulus package.

The budget deficit is projected to rise to 4.8% from the 3.6% expected earlier, after estimated revenues were dialled down from RM176.22 billion to RM168.73 billion.

The inflation rate is expected to hold steady at around 3-4%, he said in announcing the revised Budget 2009.

His briefing on the stimulus package in Parliament was interrupted several times by Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament.

Speaker Tan Sr Pandikar Amin Mulia ordered Batu MP Tian Chua to leave for disobeying his instructions, which led to Opposition MPs walking out in protest.

Among the measures Najib announced were:

  1. RM1.2bil to be allocated to build more low- and medium-cost houses;
  2. Abolishing the 5% import duties on fertilisers, cement and steel;
  3. Allowing hypermarkets to close late (weekdays 11pm; weekends 1am);
  4. RM500mil for the maintenance of police stations and quarters, as well as Army camps;
  5. RM200mil for Chinese, Tamil, religious and mission schools;
  6. RM200mil for pre-school education; and
  7. Employees can reduce their EPF contributions by 3% on a voluntary basis for up to two years.

 Source : The Star

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