Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that amid the higher vaccination rates, the country’s economic position is expected to strengthen and unemployment rate to fall starting this month given that more states exit from Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP). He said Malaysia’s jobless rate was anticipated to improve gradually with more states moving into Phase Two, especially the Klang Valley, which covers Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya, starting Friday. “The stage-by-stage transition via NRP phases, which allows more economic activities to operate based on compliance with specified standard operating procedures, will result in a gradual recovery in economic activities,” he said. He said the reopening of more economic sectors in the Klang Valley was crucial because it contributed about 40 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product.
Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s labour force data, Mustapa said unemployment rate in the country remained at 4.8 per cent in July 2021 with the number of unemployed persons rising slightly to 778,200 people compared to the preceding month. The labour market had been gradually recovering since early this year, with the unemployment rate easing to 4.5 per cent in May from 4.9 per cent in January 2021.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government’s Budget 2022 plans will be based on boosting the economy and strengthening public healthcare as Malaysia shifts into living with Covid-19 as an endemic disease. He said the government will be rolling out five major public health initiatives under the National Recovery Plan, which will also be part of next year’s budget. The new measures include setting up a dedicated call centre to offer immediate assistance in managing Covid-19, whole genome sequencing conducted by the Institute of Medical Research to detect the presence and spread of new variants in Malaysia, studying better means to Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) Covid-19 patients, and managing patients suffering long Covid-19. “Moving forward, the government will progressively update the National Recovery Plan to prepare Malaysia for the next normal of living with Covid-19 as an endemic disease.