KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has cost Malaysia a loss of RM17 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) earnings, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.
“Total GDP lost from October 7 till December 6, 2020, is estimated to be a total of RM17 billion,” Muhyiddin said in his written Dewan Negara reply to Senator Liew Chin Tong on December 17.
“Hence, the extension of CMCO will give a negative impact to the economic recovery plan of the country.”
On October 9, the government announced a CMCO in three districts in Sabah — Sandakan, Papar, and Tuaran — and in Klang, Selangor. Following that, the CMCO was implemented in the whole of the Klang Valley from October 14 and Sabah from October 13, which was then extended to all states — except Perlis, Pahang, and Kelantan — from November 9 till December 6.
The CMCO in the Klang Valley and Sabah have been extended until December 31, but inter-district and interstate movements were permitted from December 7, including the relaxation of other movement restrictions like vehicle passenger and restaurant seating limits.
Despite warning by MPs as well as by public health experts on the dangers of a CMCO on the country’s economy, the government insisted that CMCO was necessary to bring down the Covid-19 cases.
However, despite the CMCO, Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases are still on the rise and have even surpassed China’s cumulative infections. If Malaysia continuously reports four-digit cases in the next few days, it may reach a cumulative of 100,000 cases by the end of this week.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday during his press conference on Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases that without the CMCO, four million Klang Valley residents could have been infected with Covid-19.
Muhyiddin, in his written Dewan Negara reply, said that during the Movement Control Order (MCO), the government already understood that it would create a huge impact on the country’s economy. During the seven-week-long first phase of the MCO, Malaysia lost up to RM300 million in GDP earnings per day.
“This cost impact analysis will be done by the National Economic Action Council together with the National Security Council (NSC),” Muhyiddin said.
“This analysis is made with the aim to balance life and livelihood so that any action taken by the government is balanced in terms of health control, economic impact, social impact, and national security.”
The prime minister was responding to Senator Liew, who asked him to state the procedures, cost and benefit analysis used by NSC before determining a MCO and the total cost to the national economy when the MCO was announced by the NSC from September to December 9, 2020.
Muhyiddin said that each decision is made through a discussion involving various ministries and related agencies during the NSC’s special meeting that is conducted almost every day.
Meanwhile, the risk assessment for Covid-19 infection conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) plays the most important role in determining the severity of cases that occur in a certain place.
“Among the factors taken into account in the assessment of the risk of infection include the rate of increase in cases, the distribution of positive cases, population density, the existence of public places, and the sociodemographic conditions of the population.”
The prime minister also said that the government also takes into account the cost analysis and benefits before making a decision on the implementation of an MCO.
Among things taken into account in the analysis is as below:
- Preparation and capability of facilities such as government laboratories, and clinics or hospitals
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation requirements
- Cost of Covid-19 screening test
- Placement of persons-under-surveillance (PUS) and patients-under-investigation (PUI) at quarantine stations, involving the cost of food and drink, welfare, aspects of cleaning, and maintenance
- Availability of staff directly involved in dealing with Covid-19