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February 10, 2009

Malaysia: Second stimulus plan to focus on policy changes
Malaysia's government will focus on policy changes in its second stimulus package instead of increased spending as it tries to steer the economy away from a widely anticipated recession in the next six months, Reuters quoted The Edge financial daily as reporting Tuesday.

Malaysia's first spending package totalled 7 billion ringgit ($1.9 billion) and economists expect the new fiscal boost to be worth 7-10 billion ringgit.

"The second package will involve more policy changes rather than outright spending by the government, mainly as the government had announced large pump-priming measures, such as for infrastructure, in the first stimulus package," one source was quoted as saying.

Last week, Malaysia's deputy prime minister Najib Razak said the government is ready to take "radical" steps to increase demand and will discuss plans at a meeting on Tuesday.

The new package may feature tax cuts for businesses and individuals, but the main focus would be on keeping people employed, The Edge reported.

Malaysia's government still forecasts economic growth of 3.5 percent this year, although most private sector economists say growth is likely to be closer to zero.

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