Reopening international borders: NRC agrees to quarantine-free travel from March 1, says Muhyiddin


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s borders are set to fully reopen on March 1, says National Recovery Council (NRC) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“It was recommended by the NRC that the country's borders be fully opened in due time to support the nation's recovery.

"In connection to this, the council agrees that the nation's borders are to fully open as early as March 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine," he said in a statement after chairing the NRC meeting on Tuesday (Feb 8).

Muhyiddin, however, noted that those entering the country would have to undergo Covid-19 tests before and right after arriving into the country as recommended by the Health Ministry.

"The opening of the nation's borders needs to be done accordingly and based on current risk assessment," he added.

The borders had been partially closed since early 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak to check the spread of the virus.

Muhyiddin added the border opening matter was raised by Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud during the meeting.

On a separate matter, Muhyiddin said NRC had also recommended a more systematic management of grants, loans and financial aid for micro, small and medium enterprises.

He said this was crucial to ensure the optimum use of resources without any overlapping claims.

The council also took note of the difficulties faced by the construction industry due to rising cost of materials, labour shortages and movement control.

"In view of this, the council supports recommendations by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) to seek immediate and long term structural solutions for these issues," he added.

Muhyiddin also said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had briefed NRC on the current pandemic situation, particularly the spread of the Omicron variant.

Although there had been an increase in the number of daily infections, he noted that steps taken by the health authorities, high rate of vaccination in the country and the implementation of booster shots, had succeeded in reducing the number of serious infections under Category 3 to Category 5.

Administration of booster doses among the youths and young children would also be stepped up, he said.

Muhyiddin also announced the appointment of Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob as chief executive officer of the NRC secretariat effective Feb 1 and among his tasks were to draft the direction and strategies of the National Recovery Plan 2.0.

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