PUTRAJAYA, Dec 31 — The government will focus on five key areas leading up to 2021 as part of its strategy to recover from Covid-19, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said tonight.
He said these include reinforcing public health by procuring Covid-19 vaccines and launching a vaccination programme nationwide, and strengthening the people-centric economic and spearheading post-Covid 19 growth by implementing Budget 2021 and the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“We will also focus on ensuring political and governmental stability including good administration as the basis for a sustainable economic recovery, guaranteeing the preservation of the nation’s sovereignty and augmenting Malaysia’s position on the global arena, and lastly, strengthening the ties between races and religions in forming a united society against any threat,” he said in a special New Year’s Eve address.
Muhyiddin cited World Health Organisation Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan’s projection that it will take between four to five years until the world can effectively contain Covid-19.
“Economically, the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook 2021 has projected the global economic growth next year at 5.4 per cent. The World Bank and Bank Negara Malaysia have also projected that our economy will expand between 6.5 to 7.5 per cent.
“What is certain is that this optimistic projection indicates a brighter future awaiting us in 2021,” he said.
On public health, Muhyiddin said the government is determined to continue its efforts to improve public health, with the principle of prevention being better than the cure.
“Early prevention is important, and I wish to reiterate that the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government must continue to be obeyed, in accordance with the enforced movement control order.
“Under the auspices of the Health Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, and Wisma Putra, the government has created a vaccine supply portfolio and signed several agreements to receive them as speedily as possible from the vaccine’s manufacturing companies,” he said adding that the government will ensure the vaccine supply is effective, safe to use, and sufficient for at least 80 per cent of Malaysians.
The vaccine will also be administered to citizens for free.
On strengthening the rakyat-centric economic and spearheading growth, the prime minister said Budget 2021’s passing in Parliament with an allocation of RM322.5 billion makes it one of the biggest Budgets in the country’s history.
“This Budget is critical in ensuring the Malaysian economy can recover and preserve the rakyat’s prosperity at all times. The government will continue to develop social security nets including direct cash assistance such as Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat, insurance coverage schemes aimed at the B40 category, and to strengthen the nation’s welfare system so the B40, the elderly, and the disabled are always taken care of.
“This is included in the major agenda of eradicating poverty among Malaysians regardless of race and religion, which will be improved upon by the Perikatan Nasional government,” he said.
Muhyiddin also did not rule out the possibility of another strategic fiscal injection, which will be given consideration, depending on the current economic situation should the need arise.
He said via the 12th Malaysia Plan, a comprehensive strategy will be announced early next year to recover and stimulate the national economy.
“The Plan will focus on new spearheads for the national economy, including the digital and green economies. Both physical and digital infrastructures in the urban and rural areas will be built to ensure Malaysia remains competitive and to garner new economic opportunities on a global stage.
“In line with this, the government will launch the National Digital Policy in the first quarter of 2021 with a special focus on developing the 5G network system. I am confident the Plan will realise Malaysia’s clear economic vision for the new decade, as well as ensure Malaysia’s economic growth remains inclusive and benefits the rakyat,” he said.
On Malaysia’s sovereignty and world standing, Muhyiddin said the nation and rakyat’s physical and virtual safety will always be under the watch of the national security agencies.
“Border and entry points control will continue to be tightened, while any intrusion or smuggling activities will not be tolerated. The government will never compromise on the question of national sovereignty, and we will continue to monitor both physical and online crimes including scammers who are becoming more widespread,” he said.
The strengthening of harmonious relations in a multifaceted and multiconfessional Malaysia is something that Muhyiddin said he believes to be the key to the nation’s success.
“Look at the fruits of this unity today, with each challenge posed by Covid-19 overcome. Let us contemplate and ponder upon it, for we must foster the spirit of unity and understanding among each other.
“Though it is not easy with the increasingly sophisticated technological challenges. As such the government will not hesitate to take action against those who continue to fan the flames of racial and religious hatred, as well as insulting the institution of constitutional monarchy in the country,” he said.
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