“The faster we can reopen, the better. If we are late in opening the country even by a day, we will have to bear great cost.” – Muhyiddin
Any Delay In Reopening Borders Will Have Detrimental Economic Repercussions – Muhyiddin
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia's National Recovery Council (NRC) is urging for a rapid reopening of the country's borders, stating that any delay would be detrimental to the country.
“The faster we can reopen, the better,” chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin urged.
Any delay would have a significant impact on the country, particularly the economy, he stressed.
Adding that “if we are late in opening the country even by a day, we will have to bear great cost.”
He said that the council had been informed by the Health Ministry that the standard operating procedure for reopening borders was being finalised and would be approved by the Cabinet.
This would be announced shortly by the government, he said during a news conference after his chairmanship of the third NRC meeting here yesterday.
source - FMT
Despite the current rise of Covid-19 cases, he said that the healthcare system was still capable of managing the crisis.
“If the Health Ministry can handle it, there should be no problem (in reopening borders),” he added.
Additionally, he said that the tourist industry is significantly dependent on foreign tourists, who generated RM80 billion in revenue prior to the pandemic.
As a result, he said that a rapid reopening of borders was vital.
The National Research Council had previously advised that the country's borders be reopened to quarantine-free travel by March 1.
Muhyiddin said reopening the borders was critical for the country's economy to recover, particularly the business and tourism sectors, and expressed hope that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would consent to the NRC's request by March 1.
On February 18, Ismail Sabri said that the Health Ministry had been granted two to three weeks to submit proposals and a standard operating procedure for border reopening to the Cabinet.
Muhyiddin also said that the country's recovery from the pandemic has progressed, with the gross domestic product (GDP) rising by 3.1 percent last year.
He attributed the improvement to the country's transition to Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and the safe reopening of the economic sector.
“The transition of the country to Phase Four also contributed to the reduction of the unemployment rate to 4.2%.
“The reopening of the economic sector led to external trade reaching RM2 trillion with the gross value of foreign direct investment exceeding RM50 billion,” he added.
However, he noted that the country's overall sectoral performance remained below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Critical subsectors such as accommodation and food and beverage continue to underperform in 2019.
“The second NRP will be crucial in ensuring the strategic recovery of affected sectors,” he said.
The NRC meeting in Putrajaya, which was attended by Health and Works ministries as well as council members, also reviewed NRP 2.0 and the council's action items for this year.
“I would like to inform everyone that NRP 2.0 will be completed soon for the government to review,” Muhyiddin said.
He stated that the NRC has evaluated proposals submitted by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce regarding talent development, recruiting, and retention in order to attract foreign investment.
“The proposals would help increase the competitiveness of the country and encourage private- public cooperation,” he said.
Source – The Star