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Malaysia unveils record $80bn budget to kick-start COVID recovery

Ismail Sabri government turns on taps to restore jobs under 'endemic' virus

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's government on Friday proposed the largest budget in the country's history for 2022, worth 332.1 billion ringgit ($80.2 billion), as it aims to propel the economy out of the coronavirus crisis and ease unemployment.

The spending package, Ismail Sabri's first after taking power in August, includes ambitious development outlays totaling 75.6 billion ringgit, up nearly 22% from this year's budget. Operating expenditure comes in at 233.5 billion ringgit, up a little more than 6%, along with a 23 billion ringgit fund dedicated to dealing with COVID-19 as the country begins to treat it as an endemic disease that can be managed -- not eradicated.

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