The proposal on the reopening of the country’s border was not a personal decision but mutually agreed upon by members of the council
Johor Bahru – National Recovery Council (NRC) Chairman Muhyiddin Yassin has pushed the blame on the country’s border reopening despite the high number of Covid-19 cases to council members and the health minister.
Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) quoted Muhyiddin as saying the proposal on the reopening the country’s border was not a personal decision, but mutually agreed upon by members of the council including the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The former prime minister said the matter was discussed at a meeting chaired by him recently and stressed that opening the border was important to revive the country’s economy, especially the business and tourism sectors.
“In the meeting, the health minister was there and when asked whether there would be a compulsory quarantine, he said no need.
“I hope that Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Ismail Sabri Yaakob would agree to the council’s proposal to reopen the country’s borders by 01 March and it’s a proposal by NRC and not my own,” Bernama reported as Muhyiddin said in his speech at the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Chinese New Year reception in Pontian, here on Thursday (17 Feb).
The Pagoh MP went on saying that Khairy also gave his nod on the date to reopen the border by 01 March.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Friday (11 Feb) has brushed off Muhyiddin’s request and said the Health Ministry had yet to provide feedback on the proposal to the Cabinet for evaluation.
He said the Cabinet has yet to discuss the NRC’s proposal to reopen the country’s borders by 01 March.
“I have friends (from my time serving as a minister) in the Tourism Ministry who say they cannot survive, tour drivers who depend on income gained from ferrying travellers. Now, there are none (tourists), they cannot survive.
“Perhaps we can see now that the government is still providing assistance (in terms of) wage subsidy to workers but we do not pay much, only RM600. This is meant to help but we do not know how much longer they can survive.
“Yes, we indeed want to reopen the borders because we want to assist the tourism industry, but we also want to protect the health of Malaysians.
“If the travellers who come here are infected, then it will only expedite the increase in the number of cases and endanger our people’s health,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama
The UMNO veep added on further and said “We must find a balance between wanting to protect the tourism industry and the people’s health, so the Health Ministry will look into it in detail and propose to the Cabinet on the next step.
Ismail Sabri said the government, thus far, had only reopened the Malaysia-Singapore border in Johor via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL). – New Malaysia Herald