Asia School of Business

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Can the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package Keep Households Afloat Through the Covid-19 Crisis?


APRIL 29 — The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global crisis on an unprecedented scale. While Malaysia has been able to control its infection levels better than most countries with early exposure to the virus, the movement control order (MCO) has required major economic sacrifices from the people living in this country.

This, in addition to a Covid-19 global economic slowdown, threatens a budget crisis for Malaysian households, which often carry a great deal of debt — in 2019, Malaysia’s household debt reached 82.7 per cent of GDP — and often hold little savings. Without a steady source of income, many households could quickly lose access to necessities such as food and housing.

Particular segments of the population are feeling the burden of this pandemic more than others — for example, a single mother operating a roadside food stall recently told us: “boleh korek korek mana yang boleh kita makan.” This resilience, however, may dampen throughout time, especially if the hard times get worse, and persist.

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