Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Malaysia acts to bolster economy

shoppers in hyper market in Petaling Jaya
Malaysia is trying to stop the country entering a deep recession

Malaysia's government has unveiled a 60bn ringgit ($16.27bn; 11.7bn) economic stimulus plan as it seeks to stave off a deep recession.

The plan is equivalent to 9% of the country's economic output.

Malaysia's economy, which is heavily dependent on manufacturing, has been hit hard by the global downturn.

The package involves 700m ringgit to create 163,000 new jobs, 3bn ringgit in tax incentives and 25bn ringgit to help companies access funds.

"Without these efforts, the economy faces the prospect of a deep recession," said Finance Minister Najib Razak.

"We cannot depend on orthodox economy recovery policies."

The country had earlier announced plans to spend 17bn ringgit.

The package also detailed investment in infrastructure projects, including a budget airline terminal, expansion of Penang airport, a high speed broadband network and a covered walkway in the Golden Triangle shopping district in Kuala Lumpur.

The government also cut its economic growth forecast from 3.5%. It now reckons that the economy will at best grow 1% in 2009 and, at worst, shrink by 1%.

Malaysia's economy grew by 0.1% in the last three months of 2008.

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