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Malaysian PM outlines five priorities in Covid-19 fight during New Year address


PETALING JAYA: The war against Covid-19 is far from over, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic), as he laid out the five priorities in nation fight against the pandemic in his 2021 New Year address.

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First, Muhyiddin said the government aims to uplift public health by the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines and to implement a nationwide vaccination programme.

Muhyiddin said the Health Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Wisma Putra have created a vaccine supply portfolio and inked several deals with Covid-19 vaccine bodies and companies to acquire vaccines for Malaysians as soon as possible.

“The government will ensure efficient, safe and adequate vaccine supplies for at least 80% of the population and this vaccine will also be given free to citizens, ” he said.

Muhyiddin also said the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan will be implemented by the Health Ministry through three phases beginning in February.

“Frontliners and I will be among the first to receive the vaccines in order to prove that the vaccine is safe and effective, god-willing.”

At the same time, Muhyiddin also said high-risk groups such as senior citizens and patients who have non-infectious diseases and chronic diseases will be given priority in getting vaccinated.

He stressed that the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine will be monitored by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.

“I would also like to remind that the vaccination program is just a preventative step and SOPs must still be abided at all times, ” he added.

The second priority, said the Prime Minister, is to strengthen the economy and to accelerate post-Covid-19 economic growth through the implementation of Budget 2021 and the 12th Malaysian Plan.

He pointed out that Budget 2021, worth RM322.5bil, is the biggest federal expenditure in the nation’s history, saying that it is a critical measure to ensure economic recovery.

“The government will continue to develop social security networks such as direct cash aids in the form of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat, the insurance protection scheme for the B40 and to strengthen the national welfare system so that the needy are taken care of.

“The Perikatan Nasional government will continue to strengthen the national agenda of eliminating poverty in Malaysia without taking into account race and religion, ” he said.

Muhyiddin said the government’s third priority is to promote stability in politics, government and administration, as it is a foundation for strong economic recovery.

He urged leaders from the other side of the political divide to display qualities of being responsible and refrain from any action that could threaten political stability.

“At this time, it is good if we can set aside politics and unite for the people. We need to be together in fighting this pandemic as patriotic Malaysians, ” Muhyiddin added.

Muhyiddin also said he was confident that political stability and good administration will foster a conducive investment ecosystem to ensure that Malaysia remains as among the main investment destinations in the Southeast Asian region.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said the fourth focus was to ensure that the nation’s sovereignty is upheld and Malaysia’s position in the international stage is strengthened.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia wants to take the opportunity from the Covid-19 disruption of the global order to play a more active role on the international stage and showcase its dynamic leadership.

"It's time for Malaysia to emerge as a respected power, courageous in consistently fighting for mutual prosperity and peace," he said.

On the fifth priority, which is to enhance the harmonious relations among Malaysians, Muhyiddin said he believes and is confident that unity was the key to the country's success, especially in overcoming the pandemic.

"I would like to stress that the government will not hesitate to take action against anyone who disobeys and continues to inflame the hate between the different religious and ethnic groups, what more in disrespecting the constitutional monarchy," he said, urging Malaysians to appreciate the peace they enjoy.

He said the five priorities listed were in line with the government's long-term vision under the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, adding that despite the hardships of 2020, he believed that Malaysians could still be thankful for many blessings.

Urging Malaysians to step forward into 2021 with more resilience, the government's goal, he added, was to see a more united Malaysia, free from Covid-19, a prosperous rakyat with a booming economy and the country's name on the international stage.

Published : January 01, 2021

By : TARRENCE TAN The Star/ANN