KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the success of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, Malaysians cannot be complacent in the fight against Covid-19, says Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
The King said the battle must go on and the new government must work hard and make sure herd immunity is achieved.
In his Royal Address at the first meeting of the fourth session of the 14th Parliament yesterday, the King said he was pleased with government efforts against the pandemic and in alleviating its socio-economic impact on Malaysians.
These efforts, he said, were reflected in Malaysia’s high recovery and quick vaccination rates, besides the majority of new cases being in Categories 1 and 2 (asymptomatic/ mild symptoms).
“Right now, almost 75% of workers in the manufacturing sector registered with the industry vaccination programme have been fully vaccinated.
“This has helped to increase productivity in factories and the manufacturing sector.
“But despite these successes, let’s not let our guard down and feel complacent. We have to continue with our efforts, especially with the emergence of new virus variants.
“The government must work hard to bring down the daily cases and ensure herd immunity is achieved,” Sultan Abdullah said.
His Majesty also reminded the government to review policies on visa approval and entry permits for foreigners to control the spread of new Covid-19 variants.
“Also, border controls need to be tightened to stop illegal immigrants,” he added.
The King also said the “whole-of-society effort” needs to be ramped up with effective communication narratives to make things work.
He said he welcomes the government’s effort in promoting the Malaysia Sihat (Healthy Malaysia) national agenda by educating everyone in the Malaysian Family to coexist with the virus.
“With us accepting Covid-19 as endemic where it will be part of our lives, we also need to realise how dangerous it is, especially with the new variants and possibly newer ones in the future.
“Everyone must stay vigilant to take care of their well-being and be disciplined in adhering to the standard operating procedure at all times.
“More importantly, the people must make sure they get vaccinated,” he added.
Earlier, before the start of his speech, the King also remembered Malaysians who have died from Covid-19 and called on members of the Dewan Rakyat to recite the al-Fatihah.
Meanwhile, the King noted that Malaysia’s total trade was worth RM1 trillion in the first half of this year and investments in all sectors of the economy increased by nearly 70%.
“This clearly gives a positive image that Malaysia is a very competitive country, business-friendly and also a strategic location for domestic and international investors,” he added.
The King said he is also grateful the gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of this year increased by 16.1% and praised the government’s plans to gradually reopen the economy.
The King noted the role of government aid, adding that cash handouts had benefited 10 million recipients from the B40 and M40 groups in the second half of 2021.
“For businesses under the Pemulih package, the special Prihatin grant worth RM1,000 will be paid to more than one million micro, small and medium enterprise owners.
“To ensure business continuity, Pemulih has also prepared wage subsidy schemes for four additional months, worth almost RM4bil, that will benefit more than 200,000 employers,” he added.
Although the economy has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the King said he is optimistic it will show signs of recovery once more people are vaccinated.
“This will also give stakeholders and investors more confidence,” he added.