NRC proposes reopening international borders on March 1

Muhyiddin says NRC also recommends that the financial assistance of various govt agencies to MSMEs be coordinated systematically to increase the more optimal use of resources


THE National Recovery Council (NRC) is proposing to fully reopen the country’s international borders on March 1 without mandatory quarantine.

Its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said, however, travellers must take the Covid-19 test immediately before their departure and upon arrival, as per the recommendations by the Health Ministry (MoH).

He added that the reopening of the border must be done in a planned manner based on the current risk assessment.

“The council proposes that the country’s borders be fully opened in the near future to support our recovery process.

“In this regard, the council has agreed that the country’s borders be fully opened as early as March 1, 2022, without the need for mandatory quarantine,” he said at a press conference after chairing the NRC meeting in Putrajaya yesterday.

Meanwhile, the NRC also recommended that the financial assistance of various government agencies to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) be coordinated systematically to increase the more optimal use of resources.

That way, duplication of aid could be avoided and more entrepreneurs who are really affected would receive the benefits.

“The government has provided various financial assistance in the form of grants and loans to MSMEs through various government financing agencies and the national banking system.

“The council recommends that the adjustment of all financial assistance by various parties be implemented systematically to increase the use of resources in a more targeted and optimal way, based on specific needs,” Muhyiddin added.

He said the NRC also took note of the country’s construction industry, which is currently facing rising prices of building materials, shortage of foreign workers and still recovering from the previous Movement Control Order (MCO).

He added that the construction industry is very important to stimulate the country’s economic growth in the process of national recovery.

“As such, the council supports the recommendations by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) for immediate and long-term solutions to more structural issues,” he noted.

Muhyiddin chaired the second NRC meeting for the year 2022 at the Finance Ministry building yesterday morning.

He announced that the council will hold meetings more frequently due to the challenges posed by the Omicron variant and the increasing number of daily infections in the country.

He emphasised that the NRC must ensure that the country can manage the recovery process as best as possible in a short period of time.

At the meeting, the council took note of Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar’s briefing on the latest Covid-19 development, especially the transmission of the Omicron variant.

Muhyiddin said despite the increase in daily Covid-19 cases, the booster dose strategy and control measures implemented by the MoH have succeeded in reducing the admission of Categories 3-5 of Covid-19 cases in hospitals.

“Malaysia is one of the countries with the highest percentage of complete Covid-19 vaccination, with 98% of the adult population and over 78% of the country’s population fully inoculated.

“Meanwhile, over 50% of the adult population have also received their booster dose.

“This has helped ease the burden on the national healthcare system. The administration of booster vaccines, as well as the adolescents and children’s vaccine, will be enhanced after taking into account the emergence of Omicron variants.”

On a separate matter, Muhyiddin also announced the appointment of Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob as CEO of the NRC secretariat effective Feb 1.

He noted that the latter will be tasked, among others, to draft the direction and strategies of the National Recovery Plan 2.0 or NRP 2.0.