Cautious optimism for October

KUALA LUMPUR: The government anticipates that most states will move into Phase Four or the final phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) as early as October, says the Prime Minister.

In his briefing on the NRP at the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the projection was made based on continuous efforts to implement the recovery process and the immunisation programme, which was “running smoothly”.

He said besides monitoring the situation in each state and taking necessary intervention measures from time to time, the government would keep carrying out risk assessments of the states’ preparedness to move on to the next NRP phase.

“The government had decided during the special meeting of the National Security Council that states that have already moved into Phase Two will not go back to Phase One; and states that have moved into Phase Three will not go back to Phase Two.“This is because the NRP approach emphasises the exit strategy and (there is) no turning back.

“The fourth phase is the last phase. In line with the nation’s vaccination rate of 80% of the adult population, social and economic activities will be allowed under new norms.“Domestic tourism activities, performances with audiences as well as group sporting events, for example, can be organised.

“If the number of cases rises again in a particular state, the government will tighten movement control based on the locality without having to enforce a total control order on the state or a territory, as is currently being done,” he added.

Eight states are currently under Phase Two: Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak.

All ears: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin making a statement on the National Recovery Plan at the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat yesterdayAll ears: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin making a statement on the National Recovery Plan at the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat yesterday

Muhyiddin had announced the four-phase NRP on June 15, with Phase One being the most restrictive.Transitions between phases are governed by three threshold indicators: the number of daily cases, the number of beds used in intensive care units (ICUs) and the percentage of the population fully vaccinated.

To move into Phase Two, the average daily cases of Covid-19 nationwide should drop below 4,000, the public health system should be out of the critical stage, including the bed use rate in ICUs returning to moderate levels, and 10% of the population must be fully vaccinated.For Phase Three, the transition can only take place after the number of infections has dropped below 2,000 and the healthcare system is at a comfortable level with enough beds available in ICUs.

About 40% of the population should have received two doses of the vaccine before the recovery plan moves into this phase.

The transition to the fourth phase can happen when the number of new cases drops to below 500 and the healthcare system is at a safe level with enough beds in ICUs.

Muhyiddin said the government planned to announce the continuation of the NRP and to fine-tune other economic recovery measures during the tabling of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and Budget 2022.He said the 12MP was expected to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Sept 20 while Budget 2022 would be tabled on Oct 29.

“Budget 2022 will focus on three key areas, namely the agenda to drive economic recovery, rebuild our country’s resilience and catalysing reforms – in short, Recovery, Resilience and Reform.

“Special focus will be placed on efforts to revive affected sectors such as tourism, improve the capability of the public healthcare system and social protection scope, and boost the digital economy to strengthen the nation’s competitiveness in facing the new normal globally,” he said.The government, via the Finance Ministry, will for the first time issue a pre-Budget 2022 statement including a public consultation document on the focus of policies in August, in line with efforts to increase transparency and public involvement in the annual budget preparation.

“As the key element in presenting information on the implementation of NRP to the public, a more user-friendly National Recovery Plan Portal is being developed as a one-stop reference centre to display the latest indicators as well as information related to the NRP, its benefits and the latest standard operating procedures,” Muhyiddin said.

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