PM: Another round of MCO will hurt the economy

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA should not be dragged into another Movement Control Order (MCO) as it will hugely impact the economy.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) said in the event of a second MCO, the government will have to provide greater assistance to the people compared to the amount given previously.

“Before this, the country faced a total lockdown and we saw a huge impact. If it happens again, I cannot predict what will happen because we are still in the early stages of recovery.

“Do not hope for MCO to happen again as the burden was enormous,” he said at a special press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.

The PM said the government had already channelled RM200 billion to RM300 billion to support Malaysians.

Therefore, he stressed that in facing the third wave of infections, the government needs to spend more to control the situation rather than being too prudent.

“I have just approved RM2 billion assistance to support the Health Ministry (MoH).”

However, if the Covid-19 situation worsens, he said the government would find a way to help the people.

“However, let us go through this phase first and look forward to the development by taking the appropriate steps,” Muhyiddin said.

On the extension of the targeted moratorium, the PM said individuals and businesses can discuss with their respective financial institutions, adding that not many people need further assistance.

“I think banks can consider. About 60% of borrowers are assisted with a monthly instalment reduction based on their needs and financial situation.”

On politics, Muhyiddin said he wants to focus on his responsibilities as the PM by tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and reviving the country’s economy.

He added that he did not follow the latest developments on PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who claimed to have the support of more than 120 MPs yesterday. The Opposition leader held a press conference after an audience with the King in the morning yesterday at Istana Negara.

“I leave it to the King to decide. I think the King understands the provisions in the constitution and he holds the full power.

“What is important is that I must manage the country, the pandemic and the economy,” Muhyiddin said.

On Covid-19 vaccines, he said Malaysia will be the first country to receive vaccines from China, which is expected to be completed by year-end.

“China is one of the most advanced countries in vaccine discovery and we are in the final stages of discussions.” Additionally, Muhyiddin said the country has agreed to participate in the global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan, Covax, despite having to pay RM42 million.

He added that Malaysia will discuss the price for Covax as currently a unit costs US$20 (about RM82). He noted that MoH will also discuss with other suppliers for vaccines.