PM Muhyiddin unveils Malaysia's post-pandemic exit plan

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday (June 15) unveiled a four-phase, post-pandemic exit plan for Malaysia, on the eve of a crucial meeting among the country’s monarchs that could decide on his political future.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin, in a televised address, unveiled the National Recovery Plan, which projects that Malaysia from September might gradually open up its economy, social sectors and also Parliament.

The federal Parliament and the 13 state legislatures have not sat this year.

“We cannot continue like this. We need to exit this crisis as soon as possible,” Mr Muhyiddin told Malaysians, indicating that the current lockdown is costing the government RM1 billion (S$320 million) a day.

Mr Muhyiddin said that much of the country’s economy is expected to reopen by the end of October, based on current projections, once 60 per cent of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The country is undergoing its third nationwide lockdown to tame the latest Covid-19 surge.

Malaysia has been struggling to bring down its Covid-19 infections this year, with daily cases hitting a record 9,020 on May 29.

Daily infections have gone below 1,000 a day only once this year, at 941 cases on March 29.

Mr Muhyiddin’s address to the nation came hours after he had an audience with Malaysia’s King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah.

Sultan Abdullah will meet the eight other Malaysian monarchs in a special Conference of Rulers meeting on Wednesday at 2.30pm that is expected to discuss the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Muhyiddin administration.

Also expected to be discussed is the national state of emergency that is supposed to end on Aug 1.

Mr Muhyiddin in January gained the King’s consent to declare a state of emergency that suspended Parliament and state legislatures, and also postponed several by-elections, to allow the government to focus its efforts in battling the pandemic.

But Covid-19 cases have only worsened during the emergency, with Malaysia reimposing movement curbs for the third time last month, which was also the deadliest month since the pandemic began in January last year.

Mr Muhyiddin imposed a total lockdown nationwide from June 1, and it has now been extended to last until June 28.

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Malaysia recorded 5,419 new infections on Tuesday, bringing total infections to 667,876.

The country is accelerating its vaccinations. On Monday, Malaysia registered its highest vaccination rate to date, administering 197,963 doses in one day.

The country has now given at least one dose of the vaccine to 10 per cent of its 33 million population, while 59 per cent of Malaysia’s adult population have registered to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

Malaysia’s Drug Control Authority (DCA) on Tuesday approved two single-dose vaccines, China’s CanSino and also the United States’ Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Malaysia currently uses three two-dose vaccines, namely Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.

The DCA on Tuesday also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12 years old and above.

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