Briefing to decide date for transition to endemic phase next week – Hishammuddin


KUALA LUMPUR – A briefing to decide the actual date for the country’s transition to the endemic phase will be held next week during the COVID-19 quartet ministerial meeting.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (picture) said the briefing will be given by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and other relevant agencies.

“We postponed the transition before because we want to hear the reports on the effects of floods, as well as the situation involving COVID-19 Omicron variant and travellers returning to Malaysia especially from Saudi Arabia first.

“So, at the Quarter Ministerial Meeting next week, we will hear the briefing from the MOH, MOFA and other agencies on this aspects so that we can present it to the special committee chaired by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob) before the actual date for the transition to the endemic phase can be decided,” he told a press conference here today.

He said the decision on the transition to the endemic phase will not be done in haste and the postponement of the transition may take two to three weeks from the original date, which is in the first week of January.

Prior to this, Hishammuddin reportedly said that the government had decided to temporarily postpone the declaration of the transition following the increase in the Omicron variant cases in the country.

Meanwhile, when asked about the possible snap election to be called in Johor during the pandemic, the Sembrong Member of Parliament said MOH’s advice must be sought before any decision was made regarding the matter.

He said the experiences gained during the state elections in Sabah, Melaka and Sarawak should serve as a lesson to ensure that the Johor election would run safely and smoothly if it were to be called.

“It is not for me to decide…but if they want to call for a state election, then let’s make sure that it runs smoothly and safely,” he said.

UMNO Supreme Council had recently given a nod for the party machinery to prepare themselves to face a snap election in Johor in order to obtain a stronger mandate.

Currently, the Barisan Nasional-led Johor government’s majority in the state assembly has been reduced by only one seat following the death of Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian on Dec 21 last year.