AZMIN ALI

Month: June 2020

Media Release: Malaysia calls for cohesive economic measures among ASEAN member states to build socio-economic resilience

Media Release: Malaysia calls for cohesive economic measures among ASEAN member states to build socio-economic resilience

Yesterday, YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry attended the 36th ASEAN Summit via virtual conference hosted by Viet Nam. The Malaysian delegation was led by Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Muhyiddin Yassin.

The ASEAN Summit is the supreme policy-making body of ASEAN which deliberates and provides policy guidance, including taking decisions on key issues pertaining to the realisation of the objectives of ASEAN among which are the acceleration of the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavors in the spirit of equality and partnership. ASEAN leaders stress the centrality and importance of unity, cooperation and solidarity, economic integration, and the importance of promoting ASEAN pro-activeness and capacity in addressing the challenges in the global landscape. The summit also discusses important matters of interest to Member States and all issues referred to it by the ASEAN Secretariat from the various councils and bodies.

At the summit, ASEAN Leaders took note of the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic which was adopted by the ASEAN Economic Ministers at the Special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Virtual Conference Meeting on COVID-19 Response held on 4 June 2020. The Hanoi Plan of Action demonstrates ASEAN unity and determination in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through strengthening regional economic resilience, in line with the key priorities of Viet Nam’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2020.

The Prime Minister, in his intervention, emphasised that in moving beyond efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, leaders must inculcate a similar sense of urgency to also push for economic recovery. The public health crisis has had a profound impact on economies and rebooting the regional economy must be our utmost priority to mitigate disruptions to trade and strengthen the resilience of the regional supply chains.

The Prime Minister made a strong case for Governments to implement measures to establish “travel bubbles” between ‘green’ ASEAN Member States to shore up investments and create job opportunities. Malaysia also broached the idea of opening up borders for intra-ASEAN tourism to flourish and provide financial boost into the region’s economies. Further, promoting intra-ASEAN travel and tourism will in turn generate the commercial and business spin-offs that are key to restarting the economy.

On that note, Malaysia shared the view by His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and the President of Indonesia that ASEAN officials should begin work on the establishment of an ASEAN travel bubble and to explore the possibility of sectoral exemptions for travel restrictions such as medical tourism, or high-value economic visits.

In 2019, ASEAN trade reached USD 2.8 trillion, of which USD 619.6 billion was intra-regional. China (18.0% share of total ASEAN trade), the US (10.4%), the EU (8.7%) and Japan (8.0%) remain as ASEAN’s largest trade partners. The main investors to ASEAN are the United States with 15.2% followed by Japan (12.7%), Hong Kong (7.0%) and China (5.7%). Despite the challenges and uncertainty faced in 2019, and notwithstanding the decline in global FDI flows by 1.4%, FDI inflows to ASEAN recorded an increase of 4.9% in 2019, to USD 160.6 billion.

Dato’ Seri Azmin also participated in the ASEAN Leaders Interface Session with representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) to discuss private sector recommendations and feedback on the implementation of ASEAN economic cooperation.

The Senior Minister stressed that support from the business community is crucial in bolstering government initiatives in dealing with COVID-19 and called for ASEAN to take the lead in pressing for greater global battle and enhanced collaborative efforts to fight the pandemic, together with a concerted Regional Economic Recovery Plan. As time is of the essence, Dato’ Seri Azmin reiterated the Prime Minister’s call for the expeditious formulation of the recovery plan as this is crucial to achieve ASEAN’s objective of greater economic integration.

Malaysia believes that acting in a cohesive and responsive manner is not an option, but indeed an utmost necessity for ASEAN economic revitalisation. Malaysia together with ASEAN colleagues and FTA partners, will continue working towards the conclusion and signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year which Malaysia believes would contribute to the deepening of regional economic integration and prosperity.

The Senior Minister also underscored the imperative of enhancing ASEAN competitiveness in global trade and commerce through consistent capacity-building including the full adoption of digitalization in all crucial areas of economic activity towards the realization of a knowledge economy.
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MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE & INDUSTRY (MITI)
SATURDAY, 27 JUNE 2020

Ucapan Majlis Anugerah Perkhidmatan Cemerlang (APC) 2019 Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri (MITI)

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahhi wabarakaatuh. Salam Sejahtera.

1. Alhamdulilah, inilah julung kalinya saya dapat bersua muka dengan warga MITI. Saya juga mengambil kesempatan untuk mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

2. Setelah tiga bulan kita bertarung dengan penularan wabak COVID-19, kita bersyukur kerana pada hari ini Malaysia telah berada di tahap pemulihan (recovery). Tindakan segera Kerajaan melaksanakan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) dan pematuhan kepada garis panduan WHO telah berjaya membendung penularan wabak COVID-19. Jumlah kes COVID-19 kini berada di tahap satu digit, dengan kebarangkalian yang kecil untuk peningkatan yang mendadak. Walhasil, Malaysia hari ini diiktiraf oleh dunia sebagai salah sebuah negara yang telah berjaya mengawal pandemik ini dengan berkesan hasil daripada keupayaan perkhidmatan dan kemudahan kesihatan negara yang baik.

3. Kerajaan juga telah melaksanakan langkah-langkah proaktif untuk segera mencerdaskan ekonomi negara. Kita akui bahawa pandemik COVID-19 ini adalah krisis global yang telah mengundang the unintended consequences.

4. Sebagai sebuah ekonomi dagang yang signifikan dalam global supply chain, Kerajaan sekali lagi telah mengambil langkah yang proaktif dan berani untuk membuka semula ekonomi bagi melindungi pekerjaan, menjamin bekalan essential goods and services tidak terganggu dan merancakkan ekonomi domestik. Justeru, mendepani cabaran ekonomi pasca COVID-19, kita perlu melangkah cepat dan pantas melalui perencanaan Economic Recovery Plan dan merangka dasar-dasar strategik untuk mengembalikan Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara yang berdaya saing dan berimpak tinggi untuk menarik pelaburan yang berkualiti dan berimpak tinggi.

5. Inilah peranan dan tanggungjawab kita. MITI, jabatan dan agensi seperti MIDA, MATRADE, Invest KL dan MARii perlu menggalas amanah ini dengan komitmen yang tinggi. Dokongan pegawai dan warga MITI keseluruhannya amat penting bagi mendepani cabaran baharu ini untuk Malaysia melonjak ke tahap yang lebih tinggi – Malaysia yang resilient, maju, makmur dan bersatu.

6. Pegawai-pegawai yang gigih, rajin, cekap dan inovatif adalah pra-syarat terpenting untuk membantu usaha Kerajaan menjana semula ekonomi rakyat dan negara.

7. Kerajaan telah melaksanakan pakej rangsangan ekonomi PRIHATIN dan PENJANA yang bernilai RM295 bilion. PENJANA adalah satu pelan yang dinamik, peduli rakyat dan merupakan pemudahcara untuk merancakkan aktiviti perniagaan demi menjana kemampanan ekonomi.

8. PENJANA turut menawarkan pelbagai insentif buat pemangkin ekonomi negara dalam sektor PKS, Mid- Tier Companies dan perusahaan sosial.

9. Pandemik COVID-19 juga telah mendedahkan rakyat dan industri kepada keperluan untuk meningkatkan penggunaan teknologi digital.

10. Kita mesti membina segera infrastruktur digital yang lengkap untuk menerapkan teknologi baharu, improving public services, empowering industry’s digitalisation and enriching people’s lives.

11. Justeru itu, kita harus menyambut perkembangan terbaharu ini dengan menggalakkan rakyat untuk menggunakan teknologi digital seluas mungkin. Kita harus membudayakan inovasi dan pengenalan teknologi baharu yang canggih dengan penekanan khusus untuk pembangunan ekonomi tempatan.

12. Inisiatif ini akan dapat mewujudkan lebih banyak peluang pekerjaan berkemahiran tinggi untuk warga tempatan sekaligus mengurangkan kebergantungan kita kepada buruh asing.

Saudara-saudari sekalian,

13. Kita sedar bahawa Malaysia tidak boleh memisahkan diri daripada ekonomi global. Namun, kita perlu terima hakikat ekonomi dunia sedang berubah ke arah deglobalisation and greater regionalisation. Justeru itu, kita perlu menangani gejala deglobalisation ini dengan bijaksana agar ekonomi, perdagangan dan pelaburan terus tumbuh dengan cerdas. Anjakan strategik yang perlu diambil adalah untuk merancakkan supply chain pada peringkat serantau.

14. Kita perlu melihat potensi ASEAN dengan penduduk yang dianggarkan sekitar 650 juta orang sebagai satu blok ekonomi yang besar yang boleh menjadi sumber pertumbuhan baharu untuk mengganti kehilangan daripada gejala deglobalisation. ASEAN perlu menjadi paksi kepada pembaharuan ini dan memperkukuhkan pertumbuhan serta kolaborasi serantau. Satu pasaran dagangan intra-ASEAN yang lebih dinamik dan inklusif perlu dibentuk untuk mengatasi cabaran ekonomi pasca wabak COVID- 19.

15. Cabaran COVID-19 sebenarnya membuka ufuk baharu kepada masa depan ekonomi Malaysia dan rantau ini. ASEAN telah sampai tahap matang untuk membuka era baharu ekonomi serantau yang dinamik dan mampan.

16. Ketidaktentuan yang disebabkan oleh penularan COVID-19 telah memberikan impak yang besar kepada perancangan Malaysia sebagai penganjur mesyuarat-mesyuarat APEC sepanjang tahun 2020. Namun begitu, MITI sebagai Sekretariat Kebangsaan APEC 2020 kekal komited memikul tanggungjawab yang digalas dengan memastikan segala tugas dan inisiatif yang telah dirancang bagi APEC 2020 insyaallah dapat diteruskan.

17. Saya ingin mengambil kesempatan ini untuk menyampaikan penghargaan dan terima kasih saya kepada semua warga MITI dan agensi atas segala khidmat dan sumbangan yang telah diberikan dalam merancakkan pembangunan ekonomi negara. Tidak dilupakan kepada ahli keluarga warga MITI dan agensi atas sokongan padu dan menjadi tunjang kekuatan tuan-tuan dan puan-puan dalam menyampaikan perkhidmatan terbaik selama bertugas bersama MITI termasuklah sepanjang tempoh PKP sebagai barisan hadapan ekonomi negara atau economic frontliners. Tahniah dan terima kasih saya ucapkan.

18. Pada petang ini, kita akan meraikan 73 penerima APC untuk tahun 2019. Saya ingin mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah dan syabas kepada 65 orang warga MITI dan lapan orang dari Jabatan Standard Malaysia.

19. Semoga pengiktirafan ini akan mencetus inspirasi kepada semua warga MITI dan agensi untuk berkhidmat dengan lebih cemerlang dan penuh dedikasi.

20. Akhir sekali, tahniah dan jutaan terima kasih juga diucapkan kepada semua ahli jawatankuasa kerja majlis dan pihak yang terlibat dalam menjayakan majlis ini.

21. Dengan lafaz bismillahirrahmanirrahim, saya dengan sukacitanya merasmikan Majlis APC MITI tahun 2019.

Sekian, wabillahitaufik walhidayah wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. Terima kasih.

Siaran Media – Pakej rangsangan RM35 bilion mensejahterakan rakyat dan memampankan perniagaan serta mencerdaskan ekonomi

Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri (MITI) menyambut baik pelaksanaan 40 inisiatif di dalam Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi (PENJANA) yang diumumkan oleh YAB Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Semenjak Kerajaan membuka semula hampir kesemua sektor ekonomi pada 4 Mei 2020, Malaysia terus mencatatkan kejayaan dalam usaha membendung penularan COVID-19 diimbangi dengan langkah mencerdaskan ekonomi negara. Jumlah kes COVID-19 kini di tahap satu digit, dengan kebarangkalian yang kecil untuk peningkatan mendadak. Dengan hampir semua sektor telah dibuka semula, 83 peratus pekerja sudah kembali bekerja.

Walau bagaimanapun, Kerajaan menyedari akan cabaran yang dihadapi oleh syarikat-syarikat untuk memulakan operasi mereka. Dalam sesi libat urus yang dijalankan oleh MITI, antara cabaran yang dihadapi oleh persatuan perdagangan dan industri, badan-badan profesional, Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) adalah kekangan aliran tunai, kawalan pergerakan pekerja dan gangguan rantaian bekalan. Kerajaan komited untuk menangani cabaran-cabaran ini bersama sektor swasta dengan memperkenalkan pakej rangsangan PRIHATIN yang bernilai RM260 bilion untuk mempercepatkan pemulihan ekonomi.

Pakej PENJANA yang bernilai RM35 bilion adalah bukti iltizam Kerajaan untuk merencanakan agenda negara ke arah pemulihan ekonomi yang pantas. PENJANA adalah pemudahcara untuk memakmurkan rakyat, merancakkan aktiviti perniagaan serta menjana kemampanan ekonomi.

Pelanjutan tempoh 3 bulan bagi Program Subsidi Upah dengan peruntukan RM5 bilion akan dapat menjamin perlindungan pekerjaan rakyat Malaysia. Sebanyak RM600 akan diperuntukkan bagi setiap seorang pekerja di mana usaha ini akan terus membantu pihak industri dan PKS menangani kekangan aliran tunai. Pengenalan subsidi upah menerusi pakej rangsangan terdahulu telah diterima baik oleh pekerja dan majikan serta telah menyelamatkan lebih daripada 2.2 juta pekerjaan. Kini dengan pembukaan hampir kesemua industri dan lebih 12 juta orang pekerja telah kembali bekerja semula, pelanjutan program ini diyakini akan terus memberi bantuan kepada para pekerja.

Para pekerja di dalam sektor-sektor yang amat terkesan akibat pandemik ini, seperti pelancongan, turut akan menikmati faedah daripada Program Subsidi Upah. Melalui pengenalan insentif antara RM600 ke RM1,000 kepada majikan yang menawarkan peluang pekerjaan kepada penganggur dan pelatih industri, Kerajaan dapat memastikan manfaat-manfaat yang disediakan akan dapat dinikmati oleh setiap lapisan masyarakat.

Dalam usaha untuk menggalakkan lebih ramai pekerja bekerja dari rumah, Kerajaan telah mengumumkan pelepasan cukai untuk pembelian perkakasan ICT. MITI melihat inisiatif Kerajaan dalam perkara ini adalah amat penting dalam usaha Kerajaan untuk melangkah ke arah ekonomi digital. Insentif ini sememangnya akan mendorong sektor swasta untuk kekal produktif dan anjal, meskipun bekerja dari rumah. Ini seterusnya akan meningkatkan penggunaan teknologi dalam proses kerja, dan seterusnya mencapai hasrat Kerajaan untuk membudayakan pendigitalan di dalam komuniti perniagaan amnya, dan ekonomi secara menyeluruh.

PENJANA turut menawarkan pelbagai kelebihan sebagai pemangkin ekonomi utama negara, termasuklah PKS, Syarikat Peringkat Pertengahan (MTCs), Perusahaan Sosial dan Start-Up. Langkah ini menunjukkan tindakan Kerajaan yang pantas dalam memenuhi keperluan entiti-entiti ini. Langkah ini akan menyuntik dinamisma baru dalam sektor PKS yang merupakan pencipta pekerjaan terbanyak dalam ekonomi.

Sektor ini juga perlu melakukan anjakan paradigma melalui penggunaan teknologi dan inovasi termasuk pendigitalan supaya kecekapan dan produktivitinya melonjak.

Bantuan kewangan khas berjumlah RM500 juta yang disalurkan kepada PUNB dan MARA adalah amat bertepatan dalam usaha untuk mengukuhkan penglibatan Bumiputera dan memastikan kemampanan perniagaan dan keusahawanan.

MITI juga mengalu-alukan geran padanan RM10 juta untuk Perusahaan Sosial. Secara definisinya, Perusahaan Sosial adalah perniagaan yang berfokuskan kepada model keuntungan yang mementingkan objektif tanggungjawab sosial, seperti meningkatkan mata pencarian golongan B40 dan terpinggir atau melindungi kesejahteraan alam sekitar. Geran padanan ini adalah langkah yang tepat bagi memupuk budaya perniagaan yang inklusif dan bertanggungjawab untuk kebaikan bersama masyarakat.

Peruntukan RM100 juta bagi Teknologi dan Inovasi Sandbox Nasional akan menjadi pemangkin kepada pertumbuhan pesat start-up di Malaysia. Ini penting dalam memastikan Malaysia kekal sebagai destinasi bagi pembangunan start-up yang secara tidak langsung akan menarik pemain industri teknologi yang berpotensi sebagai game changer.

Skim insentif cukai yang diperkenalkan dalam PENJANA dijangka akan menarik lebih banyak pelaburan dan mencipta peluang pekerjaan baru yang berteknologi tinggi. Pengecualian cukai sepenuhnya selama 10 tahun akan diberikan bagi pelaburan baharu dalam harta tetap antara RM300 juta hingga RM500 juta manakala pelaburan dalam harta tetap melebihi RM500 juta akan menikmati pengecualian cukai sepenuhnya selama 15 tahun. Galakan Khas Elaun Pelaburan Semula akan diberikan bagi tahun taksiran 2020 hingga 2021.

Insentif-insentif cukai ini akan memberikan impak positif yang amat diperlukan bagi pelaburan dan penciptaan pekerjaan. MITI yakin kesemua insentif-insentif ini akan meningkatkan pelaburan domestik dan asing selain menarik syarikat-syarikat multinasional untuk memindahkan operasi mereka ke Malaysia.

Lembaga Pembangunan Pelaburan Malaysia (MIDA), sebuah agensi di bawah MITI, akan menubuhkan satu unit baharu – Project Acceleration and Coordination Unit (PACU) yang akan memudahkan proses kelulusan, selain mempercepatkan pelaksanaan projek-projek pengilangan. Proses kelulusan lesen pengilang bagi industri tidak sensitif juga akan disingkatkan ke 2 hari bekerja sahaja.

MITI yakin dengan adanya pelan pemulihan terbaharu ini bersama dengan kelonggaran kawalan pergerakan akan memberikan anjakan bagi memacu dan menyuburkan semula ekonomi negara sekaligus menjamin pemulihan ekonomi yang menyeluruh.

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI
MENTERI KANAN
MENTERI PERDAGANGAN ANTARABANGSA & INDUSTRI
SABTU, 6 JUN 2020

Media Release – RM35 billion stimulus package that prospers people, boosts businesses and energises the economy

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) welcomes the implementation of the 40 initiatives contained in the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) announced by Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, yesterday.

Since the Government reopened almost all the economic sectors on 4 May 2020, Malaysia has made steady strides in both the health and economic fronts. The number of COVID-19 cases is at a single digit level, with little likelihood of a sudden increase. With nearly all economic sectors reopened, 83 per cent of workers have returned to work.

Nevertheless, the Government recognises that there remain challenges for businesses to restart their operations during this difficult period. In the engagements undertaken by MITI, challenges that were highlighted by the trade and industry associations, professional bodies as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) include cash flow constraints, movement restrictions and supply chain disruption. The Government demonstrated unwavering commitment in addressing these challenges, by introducing the RM260 billion PRIHATIN stimulus packages to hasten economic rebound.

The RM35-billion stimulus package is further proof of the Government’s determination to navigate the country towards a path of accelerated economic recovery. PENJANA is an enabler to prosper people, boost businesses and energise the economy.

The extension of the 3-month Wage Subsidy Program totalling RM5 billion will secure the protection of employment of Malaysians. Amounting to RM600 per worker, it will also continue to help the industry and the SMEs cope with cash flow constraints. The introduction of the previous subsidies in the earlier packages had been well received

by workers and employers having saved more than 2.2 million jobs. Now that the industry is almost fully opened, more than 12 million workers have returned to work. In view of the earlier success, the extension of this program will continue to provide relief for workers.

Workers in sectors that are hardest hit as a result of the pandemic, such as tourism, are likely to gain from this Wage Subsidy Programme. Similarly, by announcing an incentive that ranges between RM600 to RM 1000 for employers who offer job opportunities to the unemployed and industry trainees, the Government has ensured that the right benefits trickle down to these segments of the society as well.

In a move to encourage more workers to work from home, the Government has announced tax breaks for the purchase of ICT equipment. MITI views this as a crucial intervention by the Government in efforts to advance towards a digital economy. This incentive will support the private sector to remain productive and vibrant even while working from home. This will enhance the use of technology in the work process and help realise the Government’s aspiration towards fostering a digital culture in our economy.

PENJANA also offers numerous advantages for key economic movers in the country, including SMEs, Mid-Tier Companies (MTCs), Social Enterprises and start-ups. It is evident that the Government is keen to respond promptly to the needs of these entities. This move will inject new dynamism in the SMEs sector which constitutes the largest job creator in the economy. This sector should also undergo a paradigm change via the use of technology and innovation including digitalization for greater efficiency and productivity.

The special financial aid totalling RM500 million to be provided through PUNB and MARA is indeed timely in efforts to strengthen Bumiputera engagement and ensure business and entrepreneurship viability.

MITI welcomes the RM10 million matching grant allocated for Social Enterprises (SEs). By definition, SEs are businesses that pursue profit models that also accord an equal emphasis on the fulfilment of social objectives, such as improving the livelihoods of the B40 or marginalised groups, or safeguarding environmental well- being. These matching grants are a step in the right direction to nurture inclusive and responsible businesses that pointedly give back to the society.

The RM100 million allocated for the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox will serve as a catalyst that enables the exponential growth of start-ups in Malaysia. This is pivotal in ensuring that Malaysia remains a preferred destination for emerging start- ups, hence, attracting technology players that could become game changers.

The new tax incentive scheme in PENJANA is expected to attract more investments and bring better high technology employment opportunities. A full 10-year tax exemption will be granted for new investments in fixed assets valued between RM300 million and RM500 million. Investments in fixed assets exceeding RM500 million will enjoy full tax exemption for 15 years. A Special Incentive Allowance for Reinvestment will be provided for the 2020 to 2021 assessment years.

These tax incentives will provide the much needed shot-in-the-arm for investment and job creation. MITI is confident that these incentives will boost both local and foreign direct investment as well as attract multinational companies to re-shore their operations to Malaysia.

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), an agency under MITI, will also establish a new unit, namely, the Project Acceleration and Coordination Unit (PACU) to facilitate approvals and speed up the implementation of approved manufacturing projects. The manufacturer’s license approval process for non- sensitive industries will be shortened to only 2 business days.

MITI is confident that this latest recovery plan together with the easing of the movement restrictions will provide the necessary impetus to further jumpstart and revitalise the economy and ensure that we remain on the right path to full recovery.

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

SENIOR MINISTER
MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE & INDUSTRY
SATURDAY, 6 JUNE 2020

Media Release – Malaysia urges China, Japan and Korea to forge stronger collaboration with ASEAN in developing COVID-19 vaccine

Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today urged the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to resort to greater partnership with ASEAN member countries in developing the COVID-19 vaccine.

At the Special ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ (AEM+3) Virtual Conference Meeting on COVID-19 Response held this afternoon, the Minister also made an earnest call for the grouping to further enhance collaborative efforts in facing and overcoming this crisis, noting that by pulling our resources together, we would have the capacity and capability to find a long and lasting solution. He added that creating synergy and unity is the key to success in the battle and AEM+3 must expand the scope of cooperation with solidarity, vision and leadership.

Azmin also urged ASEAN to consider en bloc measures to procure vaccines in order to increase the chances of vaccine availability for the region. Korea and China, being advanced on their vaccine trials, should also consider allowing ASEAN member states to produce vaccines to drive costs down and ensure mass availability and accelerate ASEAN as a region for biotech innovation.

Earlier in the morning, at the Special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Virtual Conference Meeting on COVID-19 Response the Minister commended the private sector in fighting the pandemic jointly with the governments of ASEAN Member States. He stressed that the support from the private sector is crucial in supporting the initiatives taken by governments in addressing the adverse impact of the pandemic not only to the business community but also to the lives and livelihoods of the people in ASEAN.

“The strategic collaboration between governments and the private sector is indeed a manifestation of the ASEAN theme this year which is to act in a ‘Cohesive and Responsive’ manner in dealing with the challenges,” he added.

With regard to flattening the COVID-19 curve, the Minister noted that before the Movement Control Order, the infectivity rate was 3.55 and has been reduced to 0.3 now. Azmin also stressed that this pandemic is much more than a health crisis, which therefore requires a total and collective government-society response.

The Minister said that like other member states, Malaysia too has had to grapple with the challenge of striking the right balance between protecting lives as well as livelihoods, namely, between making the most strident efforts to contain the spread of the virus and taking vigorous initiatives at ensuring the viability of the economy.

In this regard, apart from successfully managing the COVID-19 situation from the health perspective, Malaysia has also introduced measures to bolster the economy, minimise job losses, protect incomes and secure the economic sustainability of the nation.

Malaysia implemented three Stimulus Packages worth RM280 billion aimed at supporting various parts of the community, encompassing informal sectors, families, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and businesses.

According to the Minister, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a global socio- economic tsunami with severe repercussions on all economies big and small. As countries all over the world impose movement restriction orders in efforts to fight the outbreak, our economies suffer unintended consequences, creating extreme uncertainty on growth forecast.

At the AEM+3 meeting, Azmin thanked China, Korea and Japan for their assistance and support in the region’s battle against the pandemic and expressed concern with the rapid spread of the virus globally.

“Malaysia adopted a “targeted approach” in testing COVID-19 cases by zooming in on clusters of infections as well as identifying localities with high rates of infections, and tracing as well as testing their close contacts and immediate surroundings,” he said. The Minister commended frontliners for having worked tirelessly to stop the further spread of COVID-19 and reduce new cases of infection. On public-private partnership collaboration, the Minister said that Malaysia is in the process of developing a quantitative antigen test kit to detect the level of antibodies of an individual towards the virus causing the COVID-19 infection.

Azmin added that Malaysia has been offered to work with the World Health Organisation for the ‘Solidarity Trial’ research project in discovering a potential cure for COVID-19 and expressed confidence that with continued and collective capabilities, the region will be able to overcome this pandemic together ultimately.

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MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE & INDUSTRY (MITI)
THURSDAY, 4 JUNE 2020

Media Release – Special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) & Special ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ (AEM+3) virtual conference meeting on COVID-19 response

A Special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) meeting on COVID-19 Response as well as a Special ASEAN Plus Three Economic Ministers’ (AEM+3) meeting will be convened tomorrow as a virtual conference hosted by Viet Nam.

The meetings will focus on the collective actions and responses in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to mitigate the unintended economic consequences.

Malaysia will share its experience and success in using the targeted approach in flattening the curve and lowering the infectivity rate while striking a balance between protecting lives and livelihoods. Malaysia will exchange views on the challenges faced in implementing the various movement control orders and our measures to reinvigorate the economy and businesses.

The conference will also discuss the efforts taken by member states toward research and development initiatives to find a cure for COVID-19. In this regard, Malaysia, which has been offered to work with the World Health Organisation for the “Solidarity Trial” research project, will share its perspectives in the development of a vaccine as well as treatment protocols.

The AEM+3 is expected to adopt the Joint ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Statement on Mitigating the Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali
Senior Minister
Minister of International Trade and Industry

3 June 2020