Decisions on sectors allowed to operate made collectively by NSC, says Azmin

PETALING JAYA: Deciding which sectors can operate during the National Recovery Plan is not made independently by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, says Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

Its minister said all decisions are collectively made by the National Security Council (NSC).

He said this after coming under fire in Parliament by Opposition MPs who chided the ministry for allowing factories to operate, leading to manufacturing sector clusters which have aggravated the country's Covid-19 crisis.

He said before any decision is made, each ministry has to present the respective positive and negative lists to the NSC.

"After taking into account the views of all sectors – whether it is the health or economy sector – the NSC decides what sectors should be in the positive or negative list.

"The role of my ministry is only to coordinate sectors in the positive list... Presently, we have a one-stop system to coordinate the sectors and subsectors allowed to operate as a result of the decision by the NSC," he said in Parliament on Monday (July 26).

Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong) and Khaled Abd Samad (PH-Shah Alam) interjected when Azmin held up a presentation board of Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah saying how many cases actually originated from clusters and how many were sporadic.

Livid at being heckled, Azmin said sternly, "Don't be silly, don't be stupid, you don't even understand such a simple thing."

He continued to say that Dr Noor Hisham noted that 69% of Covid-19 cases were sporadic while the remaining 31% were from clusters.

"From June 1 to July 23, Health Ministry data shows that cases from factories stood at 35,968 or only 8.8% out of the overall 408,134 cases," he said.

Azmin presented statistics to counter the earlier figures cited by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) who had also cited Dr Noor Hisham's numbers that 80% of workplace clusters in Selangor came from factories.

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