KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to implement the movement control order (MCO) for the second time had not been an easy one, but had to be made to strike a balance between the people’s health and the economy.
“We do not want people to die due to Covid-19, and we also do not want them to die from not eating,” senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in an interview with Bernama.
He said there were parties disputing the MCO implementation for the second time, which was said to be more flexible, but in a broader context, the country could go bankrupt if the MCO continued for many years.
“During the first MCO, the country lost RM2.4 billion daily. The government also needs to focus on the people who depend on their daily income to make ends meet. That is why during MCO 2.0 we allow most economic sectors to operate. The welfare of the people and their safety are equally important,” he said.
Ismail said although various assistance had been channeled to the people, the government cannot continue doing so taking into account the long-term effects.
He said the manufacturing sector was opened not to take care of the “big bosses” but because the economic chain involving company operations and the fate of workers should be given priority.
“One-off assistance of RM3,000 is given for small and medium enterprises. By allowing some sectors to operate, small traders, for example, who operate roadside stalls can also do business to meet their daily needs,” he said.
“Netizens say we take care of the big towkays but it is related to their employees. If the big boss loses due to the factory not being in operation then, in the end, the victim is an employee who depends on the income,” he said.
Asked whether Malaysia would succeed in flattening the Covid-19 curve after the MCO, Ismail, who is also the defence minister, said the number of cases would decrease but it would take some time.
“The best way to break the Covid-19 chain is with no direct movement but for now it (public movement) is still happening. Important sectors are allowed to operate on the basis of economic interests.
“Although this MCO is not a complete lockdown, the health director-general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, believes it will decrease but will take some time,” he said.
He also refuted the allegation of double standard between politicians and ordinary people in enforcement of standard operating procedures such as inter-state travel.
“For politicians or MPs, we have our own constituencies. When people are affected by disasters, elected representatives need to take responsibility for them.
“A politician’s job is to meet the people. If an elected representative is not in the field when the people are in trouble, then the politician has failed to carry out his duties,” he said.-FMT