Govt must double effort in battling pandemic

The King is confident that the new govt would be able to prove its achievements within the first 100 days in office


THE King has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration to double its effort in fighting the pandemic.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong AlSultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was confident that the new government would be able to prove its achievements within the first 100 days in office.

“Moving forward, I advise all parties to practice consultative democracy in seeking solutions for any problems.

“Therefore, I welcome the government’s openness in providing opportunities to all quarters including MPs to be involved in the country’s governance,” he said in his Royal Address at the fourth session of the 14th Parliament yesterday.

He also welcomed the efforts in fostering a bipartisan partnership between all parties that would create a new political landscape and initiate changes in the country’s administration.

The country is currently on a solid track in fighting the pandemic via the formation of the National Recovery Council as well as the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which the King said had pushed the recoveries in the country higher while new daily infections are of the milder Categories 1 and 2.

However, he urged the nation to not be complacent and satisfied with the improvements as more efforts are needed to curb the spread of the virus especially with the emergence of new variants.

Although the pandemic had dented certain sectors in the country, he said the local economy will start showing signs of recovery in line with the increase in vaccination rates, which will instil confidence in relevant stakeholders and investors.

“Therefore, the government needs to expedite economic recovery through the formulation of policies that are business and investment-friendly to heighten the nation’s competitiveness,” he said.

The King also addressed the need for an appropriate expenditure to support public healthcare and spur business activities in line with the reopening of the economy, as well as to provide help to those affected.

He said to enable additional expenditure for the purposes, the government will table its proposal to raise the ceiling for the Covid19 fund and the government’s statutory debt.

Recently, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the government is mulling plans to increase the statutory debt ceiling to 65% of the GDP from the current 60% to provide the government with fiscal space to rejuvenate the economy following the effects of the pandemic.

The Ruler was also concerned about the fate of the people who have been affected by the government’s implementations of various measures to contain the pandemic. He urged government agencies and MPs to be proactive and go on the ground to observe issues faced by the public while monitoring the achievements of programmes previously announced.

“At the same time, rural development programmes need to be enhanced. To date, a total of 7.6 million citizens are from the rural area, including 198,015 natives.

“The government must determine that strategic plans on rural development in the 12th Malaysia Plan, which encompasses infrastructure, economy, entrepreneurship and delivery systems, can be implemented to elevate the living standards of rural communities,” he said.

He added that the government needs to focus on providing broadband services infrastructure nationwide for the formation of a better digital ecosystem to assist in economic growth and enhance the capability of small and medium entrepreneurs.

On education, the King said the post-pandemic educational system required a long-term and holistic plan.

“A thorough plan for the education system post-pandemic requires the involvement and cooperation from all stakeholders across politics, ideology and expertise,” he said.

He also lauded the government’s move in facilitating good governance based on integrity.

Therefore, the King was of the view that the national and organisational anti-corruption plans should be supported.

The current sitting will be for 17 days and includes debates on the Royal Address and 12th Malaysia Plan.