PETALING JAYA: The battle waged against the Covid-19 pandemic was “worse than war", says former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).
He said that this was the first time Emergency laws were used to fight a pandemic.
Speaking to the United Arab Emirates-based news portal The National on Sunday (Jan 16), Muhyiddin said that while the laws relating to a state of emergency had been available for many years, they were rarely invoked.
“It was the first time they were used for this purpose. People said these Emergency laws were like being at war, but I told them this was worse than a war,” he said.
Muhyiddin added that the country’s close relationship with neighbouring countries was crucial in managing Covid-19, with constant sharing of information and collaboration between nations.
“As far as Malaysia was concerned, I took unprecedented action by imposing a national lockdown. There was nowhere to go. At the time there were just 300 cases, and we were unsure about what was going to happen next,” he said.
“It was a drastic decision. But Malaysians were concerned about their health and the death rates, so they responded well. I’m not saying I made all the right decisions. But the lockdown was costing us RM2.6bil a day,” added Muhyiddin.
He said the question now was whether to go back to how things were in 2019 or to use this as a platform to push Asia higher in the ranking of developed nations.
“Can we use this not only to recover, but to really jump-start our nations in Asia and lift off in our status, to look at a new digital economy and how our banks work?” he said.