Easing entry for vaxxed travellers

KUALA LUMPUR: Shortening the mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers from certain countries is a positive development to revive economic activities, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The National Recovery Council chairman said the considerations were based on the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates that several countries are practising.

‘’This is a positive development which I think will revive economic activities, especially in the tourism sector, international conventions sector, retail industry and others.

‘’This will give ease of convenience to business travellers and social visitors arriving in our country.

‘’I hope the reopening of our borders, which is an integral aspect for our recovery, would be implemented soon and safely,’’ he told the press after chairing the council meeting here yesterday.

Also present at the meeting were industry leaders and several opposition leaders – PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen, DAP’s Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen, Amanah’s Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok.

Muhyiddin said the border opening was being discussed at a work committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

‘’The border will be open for those who are fully vaccinated with a recognised digital vaccine certificate.”

The council meeting started with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin briefing the floor on the latest Covid-19 indicators and development, which Muhyiddin said he was “pleased to see’’.

“This is especially so in the downward trend of the daily positive cases, significant decrease in ICU bed usage to treat Covid-19 patients, as well as the 95% vaccination rate among the adult population,’’ he added.

Muhyiddin noted that the council meeting discussions also focused on providing assistance to the two most affected groups – small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the underprivileged – amid recovery from the pandemic.

He said a special task force would be set up to identify how the affected industries could be assisted.

“Issues regarding assisting the SMEs in terms of financing and workers’ problems, as well as the distribution of food aid to the underprivileged group, were discussed.

“In view of the existing assistance, financial initiatives and manpower supply to the SMEs under various ministries and agencies, we feel that a detailed analysis is necessary to identify the affected industries and sectors based on the latest statistics.

“This is to ensure both short- and long-term targeted solutions can be implemented soonest,’’ he said.

Muhyiddin noted that the need to have more in-depth details on the affected industries was based on a special paper presented by the SME Association Malaysia at the council meeting where two of the biggest challenges faced were highlighted.

“The task force will present its detailed findings and recommendations in a month for the council’s consideration.’’

He said the government viewed these matters seriously.

“For example, in the workers’ issue, we want to know how many workers are needed and how we can help, either by training the locals in certain sectors or if there’s a need, to allow qualified and healthy foreign workers to take up the jobs,’’ he added.

The task force, he said, will involve the Finance Ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia, International Trade and Industry Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and other relevant ministries.

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