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This Pandemic Is Currently Hitting Our Economy Hard – Wong Chen

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UPDATE BY WONG CHEN

Friday, June 4th, 2021

Good morning.

I had a zoom meeting last night with the PKR Covid-19 Team led by Dr. Lee Boon Chye. Dr. Lee gave a briefing on the current pandemic situation and his best projections. I gave an economic update report on the impact of the pandemic on consumption, employment, banking, fiscal and international trade.

We answered questions from several MPs, and the Menteri Besars of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. This was followed by an open and lively discussion for another hour or so.

This morning, I received a distressing WhatsApp message from the wife of a Desa Mentari resident, Jalalludin. Desa Menteri is a low cost flat in my old constituency of Kelana Jaya.


When I was MP for Kelana Jaya, Jalal was an active, always smiling and helpful community leader in Block 5. She informed me that Jalal had Covid-19 and was hospitalised for 28 days, and was on ICU for two weeks.

He was discharged three days ago and is recuperating at home on oxygen supply. The ICU beds are in high demand. His lungs are still in a bad state and he is unable to do any work.

In my economic briefing last night, I explained to the PKR team that the economy does not efficiently capture the data, needs and concerns of the poor. The poor are underserved in the banking system, and some 3.2 million B40 people are sole proprietors and free lancers, whose work has nothing to do with minimum wage nor international trade policies.

They are not on the fiscal radar since they are not taxpayers and only receive token transfer of payment handouts. Working class people are part of the economy but yet they do not count as much as a banker thinking about buying a new sports car. They are in the realm of what researchers have referred to as “poor economics”.

One thing is certain; this pandemic is currently hitting our economy hard. Most are suffering, yet some are making huge profits. While the MITI minister is exercising discretionary powers to break his own government lockdown rules to favour some, his fellow ministers are quarrelling to carve out their own political turfs.

All the while, they as a backdoor group, is ensuring Parliament continues to close so that they are not accountable to the people. These politicians are making hay when people like Jalal are taking the brunt of the economic sufferings.

Even though Jalal is no longer my constituent, my office will process some welfare aid to him and his family from private donations.

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