[Malaysia] Quarantine-free travel proposed
PETALING JAYA: If the recommendation by the National Recovery Council (NRC) is approved, the nation’s borders will fully reopen on March 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine.
NRC chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who revealed this after chairing a council meeting yesterday, said the move was raised by Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud.
“It was recommended that the country’s borders be fully opened in due time to support the nation’s recovery.
“In connection with this, the council agrees that it should come as early as March 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine,” Muhyiddin said in a statement.
However, Muhyiddin noted that those entering the country will have to undergo Covid-19 tests prior to and right after arriving in the country as recommended by the Health Ministry.
“The opening of the nation’s borders needs to be done accordingly and based on current risk assessment,” he added.
The nation’s borders have remained partially closed following the Covid-19 outbreak since early 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On a separate matter, Muhyiddin said the council has also recommended that a more systematic management of grants, loans and financial aid be implemented for micro, small and medium enterprises.
He said this is crucial to ensure the optimum use of resources for the intended target without any overlapping claims.
The former prime minister said the council has also taken note of the difficulties faced by the construction industry due to the rising cost of materials, labour shortages and movement control orders.
“In light of this, the council supports recommendations by the Construction Industry Development Board to seek immediate and long-term structural solutions to these issues,” he added.
Muhyiddin also announced the appointment of Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob as chief executive officer of the NRC secretariat effective Feb 1.
Sulaiman will, among other duties, head the team in drafting the direction and strategies of the National Recovery Plan 2.0, he said.
Muhyiddin added that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had briefed the NRC on the current pandemic situation, particularly the spread of the Omicron variant.
“Although there has been an increase in the number of daily infections, steps taken by the health authorities, the country’s high rate of vaccination and implementation of booster shots have succeeded in reducing the number of serious infections under Categories 3 to 5,” he said.
He also said the administration of booster doses among youth and young children will be stepped up in light of the emergence of Omicron.
By MARTIN CARVALHO