On March 27, Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) economic stimulus package as a countermeasure to the economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
Malaysia’s economy has been slowing down due to the movement control order (MCO) which has been enforced since March 18. The order has been extended to April 28.
Consequently, majority of the businesses in the country would be unable to conduct their sales as the MCO has temporarily brought down their shutters.
Therefore, the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) urged for more government aid because they felt side-lined from the BPN.
On April 6, Muhyiddin announced additional allocation for BPN, which is also known as ‘Prihatin Tambahan’, to financially assist the SMEs, notably the salary subsidy.
From the media trend, it was noticeable that the economic stimulus package had gained lesser attention from the media since April 10.
April 10 was the day the Prime Minister declared that the MCO has been extended, moving into phase three starting from April 14.
According to media intelligence, the trend of SMEs in relation to Covid-19 was seen to soothe down on the days following the Prihatin Tambahan announcement.
However, the exposure of food and employment issues regarding the coronavirus remains high on the media.
Food issue had high media exposure as the government, individuals and organisations have been handling out food aid for the needy.
In addition, medical supplies such as face masks and hand sanitisers were also distributed.
As the MCO has entered its third phase, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) assured the public that there would be enough food until April 28.
The ministry would also be monitoring on the selling price of essential goods in the market.
For the unemployment issue, the media focused on the potential global financial crisis caused by the pandemic; the economy situation in the United States was often mentioned.
In Malaysia, it was reported that the unemployment rate had rose to 3.3% as of February 2020.
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) unveiled that almost half (46.6%) of the self-employed workers in the country had lost their jobs due to the MCO amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.