Agong: Transition to endemic phase must be done carefullyThis is as the country was ranked 13th out of 122 countries in the Nikkei Asia’s Covid-19 recovery indexIN PARLIAMENT by S BIRRUNTHAMALAYSIA’S transition from the pandemic to endemic phase of Covid-19 needs to be implemented carefully.The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said Malaysia was ranked 13th out of 122 countries in the Nikkei Asia’s Covid-19 recovery index and the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme had managed to achieve complete vaccination coverage of up to 98% of the adult population.Therefore, as a precautionary measure against the spread of the new variant, His Majesty urged all Malaysians to obtain the booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine.“To ensure that immunity remains at an optimum level and as a bulwark in the face of new variants, I call on my people to get a booster dose through the ongoing immunisation programme implemented by the government.“While the country is preparing to move into the endemic phase, I hope this transition is implemented carefully,” he said in his royal address when officiating the opening of the First Meeting of the Fifth Session of the 14th Parliament yesterday.The King also supported the National Covid-19 Testing Strategy and the government’s affirmative action to reduce the price of self-test kits as a measure to strengthen public health actions and community empowerment.“Through this approach, the reopening of the economic and social sectors can be realised safely,” he noted.His Majesty hopes MPs can continue to maintain their understanding and preserve the political stability, and focus on issues affecting the publicBernamaHe also appreciated the National Vaccine Development Roadmap including its own vaccine development strategy, in an effort to increase the country’s preparedness to face pandemic and other epidemic threats in the future.Additionally, His Majesty called on all parties to strengthen their strategy and resilience in facing the challenges of Covid-19.He said the country’s economic recovery needed to be accelerated so that the country would not be left behind.“We need to help and facilitate all the people’s affairs to rebuild their lives with a sense of security, peace and prosperity for the sake of our beloved country,” he added.His Majesty also emphasised that the year 2021 has shown the country’s economic recovery improving after the Covid-19 pandemic.However, he said, the emergence of new variants around the world like Omicron and the catastrophic floods that hit the country at the end of last year slightly hampered this recovery.“I appreciate the government’s swift action by channelling aid worth RM1.4 billion directly to the victims.“Besides that, the government has also provided financial allocation for the repair of infrastructure and public facilities amounting to RM6 billion,” he added.Meanwhile, the King also expressed his appreciation for the current political stability.He said Malaysia’s political landscape is now in a more stable position to achieve the development agenda for the benefit of the people and the future of the country.He noted that this was due to the agreement reached through a memorandum of understanding on transformation and political stability signed between the government and the Opposition.“This can be seen through the result of agreement and political maturity, until the amendment to the Federal Constitution related to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement which was successfully approved by more than two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members last December.“Indeed, the event will be sculpted as a historic moment for all Malaysians.“Going forward, I call on the honourable members to continue to maintain the understanding and preserve the political stability achieved,” he said.The Dewan Rakyat, which reconvened after closing its curtain on Dec 20, was the second sitting under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration.Yesterday’s sitting of the Dewan Rakyat was focused on the royal decree of His Majesty and the meeting will last for 16 days until March 24, based on the calendar of the Dewan Rakyat meeting.Meanwhile, the Dewan Negara’s meeting, which was officiated simultaneously with the Dewan Rakyat, will take place for nine days starting March 21.To reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection in the Parliament building, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun had informed that the standard operating procedures for parliamentary sittings remained as before.Among them, MPs and staff must undergo a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) screening test three days before the sitting, while translucent barriers continue to be installed at MPs’ places as a measure to maintain physical distancing.Last Saturday, Azhar informed that 146 positive cases were detected from the RT-PCR screening test conducted for two days starting from last Thursday at the Parliament building involving 1,474 individuals including MPs, staff and media representatives.
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