The Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) chief strategy officer today said that the economic impact on the country would be the same even if a lockdown is not imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking at an online discussion on the World Bank’s latest edition of the Malaysia Economic Monitor report, Nurhisham Hussein referred to research comparing the economic impact of the pandemic in Sweden and the US.
While Sweden had avoided lockdowns and instead prioritised measures such as social distancing, he said, the research had found similar economic impacts in both countries.
“It’s quite clear the economic impact will occur regardless of whether you implement a lockdown or not,” he said.
He also said there shouldn’t be a trade-off between the economy and health, as health should be prioritised in order to boost economic recovery.
“My perspective is, there is no trade-off between the economy and health.
“In terms of priorities in fiscal policies, you must address health first,” he said, adding that economic recovery cannot occur if the healthcare system is overwhelmed.
“If we don’t get over the pandemic, we cannot talk about economic growth and recovery,” Nurhisham said.
“If you allow the healthcare system to be overwhelmed, that will also overwhelm the economy. So the first priority, regardless of the situation, must be to address Covid-19.”