By Mei Kuan
Marking his first year in office, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin gave a keynote address themed ‘Setahun Malaysia Prihatin’ (One Year: Malaysia Cares) at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre which was broadcasted live on his official Facebook page this morning (March 1). Muhyiddin was appointed as the 8th Prime Minister on 29 February 2020 – exactly 12 months ago.
“Throughout the past year we were faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, a health crisis on a global scale which was unprecedented. Our country was impacted by the outbreak with over 300,000 people infected by the virus, and the nation’s economy suffered a decline of 5.6% for the year 2020. Our main challenge is to strike a fine balance between protecting lives and livelihood,” he explained.
“Thus last year, the government implemented the Movement Control Order and simultaneously introduced various economic stimulus packages worth RM305 billion. These proactive steps were taken to curb the spread of COVID-19 and at the same time reduce the burden of the people, as well as to ensure business sustainability,” he stated.
As the government which cares for its people moves forward, additional steps would be drafted in the near future to:
- Provide targeted aid to vulnerable groups especially the poor and those experiencing loss of income.
- Increase support to businesses, especially those that still could not operate and those in the process of reopening post-MCO.
- Focus on the public service delivery system, especially in ensuring aids reach the needy, speeding up execution of development projects, reducing bureaucracy to boost economic activities and encouraging new investments.
- Focus on digitalisation agenda in line with growth of new sources of revenue and transformation of national economy in knowledge-based and innovation-based activities.
Regarding the proclamation of the national state of emergency, Muhyiddin expressed: “The main focus of the government at this moment is to steer this country clear of the double whammy of health and economic crises. Once the pandemic is over, which I hope will be very soon, I will advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve the Parliament. Until such time, my colleagues in the Cabinet and I will continue to carry out our duties and responsibilities to the best of our ability. When the election is held, of course, we will leave it to the people to decide whether the Perikatan Nasional government should be re-elected or otherwise. You are free to choose and that is what democracy is all about.”
He also took the opportunity to express his deep appreciation to all Foreign Heads of Mission based in Malaysia for their invaluable contributions throughout this challenging time.
“The health, humanitarian and economic crises brought about by the pandemic required not just local, but also international collaborations in providing aid to the people. Malaysia highly appreciates the bilateral and multilateral support rendered, including in delivering protective and medical equipment such as face masks and ventilators, as well as the exchange of expertise in managing the COVID-19 crisis,” he concluded.