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Opposition MPs unimpressed with Permai package

With Parliament and state assemblies suspended, MPs have lamented that there would be no oversight of the new stimulus package. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Several Pakatan Harapan MPs have derided the newly-announced RM15 billion Permai package, calling it a branding exercise which lacks innovation and substantial details.

Subang MP Wong Chen has called for more details surrounding the package which he called “another inflated PR stunt”.

“Can the government please produce a table of the breakdown of this RM15 billion stimulus immediately?,” he said. “My officer did a table based on his speech and calculated it came up to only RM12.8 billion.”

He also said RM15 billion was “a lot of money” for the two-week period of the current movement control order, and asked whether the sum indicated that Prime Minister Muyhiddin Yassin intends to continue the MCO and emergency for a “much, much longer” period.

The MCO in several states and all federal territories is due to end on Jan 26.

Wong Chen also noted that the government announced three stimulus packages last year amounting to RM290 billion but only asked for RM45 billion when tabling the Covid-19 financing Bill in Parliament.

“Talk so big but deliver much, much less,” he said, questioning what had happened to the remaining RM245 billion.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin rued the fact that there would not be any parliamentary oversight of the Permai package as Parliament and the various state assemblies have been suspended during the state of emergency.

“The key is implementation,” he said. “Unfortunately, (there is) no Parliament to monitor its implementation.”

Klang MP Charles Santiago said Permai lacks innovative ideas and follows the same template as the previous stimulus packages, but with a slight tweak.

While he said the expansion of the wage subsidy programme to all sectors was “helpful”, there would be minimal impact on the ground as the package left out informal sector workers and did not provide rent relief for smaller enterprises.

“The RM15 billion could have been spent in a purposeful way,” he said.

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran called the package a disappointment since there was no automatic loan moratorium, saying that it was not a “significant announcement”.

Private hospitals laud RM100 million allocation

In stark contrast to the comments by MPs, the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia said ti was pleased that Muyhiddin had announced RM100 million for private hospitals to treat Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.

The association’s president Dr Kuljit Singh said: “We are happy the government is giving us this support. This is commendable and the right way of managing this (Covid-19 pandemic) together, and we are awaiting more details now,” he said.

“We would like to handle non Covid-19 patients first as it’s the easiest and we can start without any issues. As far as infrastructure and capacity are concerned, we are ready to take in non Covid-19 patients tomorrow even.”

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