Muhyiddin vows to dissolve Parliament when possible, says economic recovery on track

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says the country is on track to beat Covid-19 with the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

The prime minister said the declaration of emergency was not a means for him to cling to power as he promised to dissolve Parliament “as soon as possible”.

“Unlike previous emergencies, this one has an expiry date – Aug 1 – but this term could be shortened,” said Muhyiddin.

“Since the emergency came into force, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has promulgated three ordinances – the Emergency Ordinance (Necessary Powers) 2021, the Emergency Ordinance (Minimum Standards for Housing, Accommodation and Employment Facilities) (Amendment) 2021 and the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance.

“These are to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic more efficiently and effectively, including improving the management of foreign workers’ accommodation which is one of the main causes of the spread of Covid-19.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has also appointed an Independent Special Committee comprising Opposition MPs to monitor the emergency and recommend if it can be terminated earlier or otherwise.”

He said the Malaysia Prihatin programmes have helped the country and he lauded frontliners who have worked tirelessly since the first Movement Control Order (MCO) last year.

“With the support of frontliners, civil servants, security forces, the private sector and the general public, the steps taken by the government have yielded positive results.

“We have been dealing with three waves of Covid-19 infection. We managed to flatten the curve of the first wave, curbed the second wave, and currently, the daily cases in the third wave are showing a downward trend,” he said.

On the economic front, he said the government’s main challenge in managing this crisis was to balance between protecting the lives of the people and the need to ensure economic survival.

He said the economic stimulus packages totalling RM305 billion were to ease the burden of the people as well as ensure business continuity.

Muhyiddin added: “The economic situation is improving. In April 2020, the economy contracted 28.7 per cent, but in December 2020, the economy contracted only 1.7 per cent. The unemployment rate also decreased from 5.3 per cent in May 2020 to 4.8 per cent in December 2020.

“International bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, projected last January that Malaysia’s economy will grow at between 6.7 and seven per cent.”

Muhyiddin said the National Employment Council (MPN) aimed to create 500,000 jobs in 2021.

In 2020, there were 107,024 retrenchments with 14,273 more reported between Jan 1 to Feb 21 this year.

“The MYFutureJobs portal was created to encourage employers to hire and train new employees.

“During the past year, 161,603 job seekers were placed in new jobs. As of Feb 26, a total of 25,648 people had managed to get jobs.

“Through MyFutureJobs, there are 243,892 more job offers.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

MP DEFENDS TRIP TO NEW ZEALAND

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri R. Santhara Kumar said he did nothing wrong in spending 55 days in New Zealand.

The Segamat MP said he left for New Zealand to visit his family on Dec 23 and underwent quarantine there from Dec 24 to Jan 9.

He said his leave was approved by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Dec 18.

Santhara Kumar claimed his 55 days of leave included unpaid leave. He also said since becoming deputy minister on March 10, 2020, he did not take any days off from work, did not call in sick, and did not take a break on weekends and public holidays.

WHERE IS THE RICE AND FOOD BASKET FOR KL RESIDENTS?

Nine Pakatan Harapan MPs from Kuala Lumpur want the government to explain what happened to 5,750 bags of rice that were supposed to be donated to the B40 group in the city.

They said the Food Basket Programme, meant to provide essential food items worth RM100 for each household, does not seem to be running as planned as the public still does not know how to apply for the food basket.

The programme involved an allocation of RM50 million through the Welfare Department.

The nine who questioned the programme were Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), Datin Paduka Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju), Lim Lip Eng (Kepong), Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Setiawangsa), P. Prabakaran (Batu) and Hannah Yeoh (Segambut).

BACK TO SCHOOL FINALLY, BUT SOME PARENTS ARE UNHAPPY

After a two-month delay, government schools reopened for pre-schoolers, Year 1 and 2 pupils today. Those in Years 3 to 6 return on March 8.

Secondary schools will open on April 4 and 5.

Some parents, however, are unhappy as the number of Covid-19 cases is still high. They have started a petition to close schools until there are fewer than 100 cases in each red zone.

At press time, there were over 12,000 signatories.

IGP SAYS IT AGAIN – POLICE GOING AFTER VVIP MASTERMINDS OF DRUG SYNDICATES

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador has for the second day running said his men are going after VVIPs behind drug syndicates.

He said five VVIPs, including those with Tan Sri and Datuk titles, were suspected of being masterminds behind the syndicates.

Yesterday, Abdul Hamid said the Narcotic Criminal Investigation Department was in the process of taking action against drug lords who used legitimate businesses as a front for illegal activities.

JOHOR WANTS ‘GREEN TRAVEL BUBBLE’ WITH SINGAPORE

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad wants to have a ‘green travel bubble’ with Singapore for those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

He said the reopening of the border and a green travel bubble initiative with Singapore should be considered upon the completion of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Hasni said those who have received the vaccine should be given a certificate to indicate so.

On Jan 30, Singapore suspended the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) scheme with Malaysia for three months from Feb 1 following a surge in Covid-19 cases.

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