by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic by TMR FILE
INTERSTATE travel will not be closed for Hari Raya celebration as rumoured.
Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is working hard to ensure Malaysians and tourists can celebrate Hari Raya safely this year.
“Two days ago, I announced that businesses would not close and people could return to their hometowns for Hari Raya and the government is currently monitoring the situation.
“We will not impose the Movement Control Order (MCO) to restrict people’s movements, but will simply close the international border as foreign countries continue to record high numbers of cases and we remain cautious, despite having begun the Vaccination Travel Lane (VTL) with Singapore and discussing it with Indonesia and Thailand,” he said in a speech in Putrajaya today.
Acknowledging that the tourism industry will suffer if Malaysia remains too rigid, Ismail Sabri said the government will continue to provide wage subsidies to industry players.
Meanwhile, the PM said the government will continue to provide assistance to the flood victims in Selangor, Penang, Perak and Kelantan.
“We faced a significant challenge just before the new year with the flood disaster, which was quite shocking particularly in Selangor. I believe the Selangor government had never seen a flood of this magnitude,” he said.
He also announced that the government will provide RM2,500 to each affected household for them to purchase necessities, vehicle repair vouchers and electrical goods beginning this week.
“According to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), 97.5% of the Bantuan Wang Ihsan (BWI) money assistance have been channelled, and nearly 100% of those who relocated to temporary shelters have received them.
In regards to the economy, Ismail Sabri said trade performance and foreign direct investment (FDI) did well last year, as total trade, for the first time in history, breached the RM2 trillion mark.
“I anticipate a further 5.5% to 5.6% economic growth as the vaccination programme continues to take effect.
“As a result of widespread vaccination, we see a decline in cases almost every day. 98% of the population have received two doses of vaccination and are now undergoing booster shots,” he concluded.