Zafrul engages more opposition leaders amid worsening pandemic

·2-min read
Zafrul engages more opposition leaders amid worsening pandemic
Zafrul engages more opposition leaders amid worsening pandemic

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz spent this week meeting several opposition leaders to gather feedback amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has altered its strategy as daily Covid-19 cases hit more than 10,000.

Among the measures include introducing a task force specifically to deal with the deteriorating situation in the Klang Valley, setting up a National Recovery Council, and launching the Surge Capacity Operation which aims for every adult in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to receive at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Another visible shift is the government's engagement of the opposition.

PKR and DAP confirmed that Zafrul met representatives from their parties on Thursday.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also the Parti Pejuang Tanahair chairperson, also revealed Zafrul had met him on Monday.

The DAP delegation (above) comprising its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who was also the former finance minister, Damansara MP Tony Pua, and Batu Gajah MP V Sivakumar met with Zafrul at the Finance Ministry on July 15 where it submitted a memorandum.

The memorandum, among others, called for a substantial increase in health capacity investment.

"We need to increase testing and tracing capacity even as we ramp up vaccination.

"The government must not again be presumptuous that with lockdowns and vaccinations, testing and tracing is no longer a priority.

"The negligence and failure in the current testing and tracing operations by the Health Ministry has severely compromised the effectiveness of the current lockdowns," it said.

It also called for manpower in the public healthcare system to be drastically ramped up by ensuring permanent positions for 35,216 contract health officers.

It also called for a bold expansionary fiscal policy to support households and businesses.

Other measures proposed include increasing welfare aid and making the ongoing bank loan moratorium interest-free.

On Thursday, the PKR delegation comprising Subang MP Wong Chen, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, and Hang Tuah Jaya MP Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin also met with Zafrul.

They had, among others, called for a parliamentary select committee to monitor the implementation of the National Recovery Plan.

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