PUTRAJAYA, March 16 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced a special RM600 monthly aid for workers on no-pay leave, for a period of six months.

“In the meeting today, it was agreed that additional steps would be taken to strengthen the economic stimulus package (PRE2020), as follows:

“First is cash aid to help workers who are forced to take no-pay leave. RM600 for each worker, every month, for a maximum period of six months. Applies for workers who were given no-pay notice beginning March 1, 2020. Applies for Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) with a pay not exceeding RM4,000 a month,” Muhyiddin said.

The PRE2020 will have three main thrusts: mitigating impact of Covid-19, spurring people-centric economic growth, and encouraging quality investments in the country.

Among key measures announced are a one-off RM600 cash handout to public transport workers, a monthly special allowance of RM400 for medical doctors and health workers, and RM200 for immigration officers.

Sectors given focus are small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and tourism, those deemed to be most impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has claimed over 2,000 lives in China from where the novel coronavirus originated.

Then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also announced a 15 per cent discount on the electricity bills for tourism agencies, hotels and carriers in a bid to boost tourism, among others, while hotels will be exempted from the new tourism tax and staff insurance contribution.

For SMEs, RM2 billion will be injected into a special assistance fund to provide low-interest rate loan while Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) will provide RM200 million worth of microcredit at a 4 per cent interest rate.

Malaysia’s economy registered a healthy 6.5 per cent growth at the height of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in the third quarter of 2003, following a RM8 billion stimulus package that Dr Mahathir unveiled as then prime minister.