Muhyiddin should announce an economic rescue package for SMEs and others missed out in the economic package last Friday as well as give top priority to public health

We begin today the two-week extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) till April 14.

Although the outcome is still uncertain, the Covid-19 statistics during the MCO give hope that JP Morgan’s grim projection of Malaysia peaking at 6,300 Covid-19 cases in mid-April may be proven wrong.

Apart from March 23rd and 26th where confirmed Covid-19 cases recorded daily increase of 212 and 235 cases respectively, the daily increase of confirmed cases in the past 17 days from March 15 have been below 200 cases.

There has been a good recovery rate, with another 58 Covid-19 patients discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 537.

Although one death is too many in Malaysia, it is significant that we have been able to keep the death rate low, although it has reached its highest of 1.55%, i.e. 43 deaths out of a total confirmed total of 2,766 cases.

We should aim to keep the death rate to below one per cent, which would mean we should be able to keep the total death rate to below 100 cases in the current surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The global total of confirmed Covid-19 cases now stand at 856,917, with 42,107 deaths and 177,141 recoveries.

Another grim milestone in the invisible global war against Covi-19 was reached in the last 24 hours with the global total of deaths passing 40,000 mark.

The latest data including the developments in the last 24 hours for Malaysia and the top 12 countries with confirmed Covid-19 cases are as follows: (

  • US: 187,347 cases, 3860 deaths (2%)
  • Italy: 105,792 cases, 12,428 deaths (11.75%)
  • Spain: 95,923 cases, 8,464 deaths (8.8%)
  • China: 81,518 cases, 3,305 deaths (4%)
  • Germany 71,808 cases, 775 deaths (1.1%)
  • France: 52,128 cases, 3,523 deaths (6.8%)
  • Iran: 44,605 cases, 2,898 deaths (6.5%)
  • UK: 25,150 cases, 1,789 deaths (7.1%)
  • Switzerland 16,605 cases; 433 deaths (2.6%)
  • Turkey 13,531 cases, 214 deaths (1.6%)
  • Belgium 12,775 cases, 705 deaths (5.5%)
  • Netherlands: 12,595 cases, 1,039 deaths (8.2)
  • Malaysia 2,766 cases, 43 deaths (1.55%)

If there is no spike in exponential increase in the Covid-19 cases in the next two weeks, and if we can keep the death rate to below one per cent, then Malaysia would be well on the way to win this phase of the Covid-19 war.

But Malaysians must accept a new fact of life, that the war against Covid-19 is going to be a long, protracted dreary one, as until a vaccine against Covid-19 is invented in 12 – 18 months’ time, a Covid-19 outbreak can always make a return with new infections.

The way we live and work has been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic, at least until a vaccine is invented.

With the beginning of the extension of the MCO today, Muhyiddin should also announce an economic rescue package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and others missed out in the economic package last Friday, which was conceived to deal with the MCO but not its extension, as well as to give top priority to public health financing.

I have received the following message which highlights the financial and economic catastrophe faced by the SMEs if they are not immediately bailed out by the government:

“If the lockdown continue until 30th April then I will be forced into early retirement by closing down my factory. Reason is I can't afford to pay salary, rental, instalment, loan and zero collection n etc etc

“January work 17 days

“Because of CNY

“February work 20 days

“March work 13 days

“Because of lockdown

“April 0 days

“If lockdown continue

“Pay 4 months salary

“Only 50 days productive

“Should I take out my savings and pay salary. I am already 57…

“As I know a lot of SME is facing the same problem. My next door neighbor has 60 workers, 5 rented factories and some instalment paying machinery. He needs 300k every month. At 42 his 15 years of hard work is going to be wiped off if lockdown continues

“Msian normally give 60+ days credit. We haven't collected the dec, Jan, Feb bills and the lockdown start. Supposing we start work in May, do you think the client can pay? This may drag till June or July before the payment comes in. How many SME can withstand until July. If the gomen doesn't help us then we are finished

“Nobody is going to be spared. If your children have financial problem, are you going to help? so are your siblings…

”No matter how solid is your house, when your neighbor on fire you will also be burnt. When you throw a stone in the middle of the pond, eventually the ripple with reached you

“Hopefully the Government will create a Stimulus Package for SME. If not

“God Blessed Msia


An economic rescue package to bail out the SMEs must be Muhyiddin’s topmost priority and most urgent imperative if Malaysia is to see through both the public health and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic to successfully re-start the Malaysian economy in the post-MCO era.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri