Covid-19 Vaccination Funding Raised To RM5 Bil, Likely No More Nationwide MCO: PM

Muhyiddin Yassin says localised movement restrictions may be implemented in lieu of nationwide or state-wide Movement Control Orders.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The government will increase funding for Covid-19 vaccination from RM3 billion to RM5 billion to achieve herd immunity by this December, Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The prime minister said extra human resources would be poured into the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, where 15,000 workers would be placed at almost 950 vaccination sites nationwide.

A special Covid-19 assistance of RM200 monthly would be extended to civil servants working at these vaccination sites. 

Muhyiddin did not specify if the national inoculation drive would only harness existing civil servants, as health care workers in the Ministry of Health (MOH) were already overworked and understaffed even before the Covid-19 epidemic. 

Private general practitioners and hospitals have offered to participate in the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, with even suggestions of a parallel inoculation drive in the private sector using coronavirus vaccines procured independently of the government.

“For the second initiative, there will be no more blanket implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO),” Muhyiddin said today when announcing the Pemerkasa economic rejuvenation programme, the first anniversary of the MCO that was implemented back on March 17 last year.

“The government will do more targeted control of Covid-19 transmission, based on science and data, to reduce the negative impact on the country’s economic activities. 

“At the same time, taking into account the national Covid-19 immunisation programme, the government may never again implement a blanket MCO that covers the entire country or a certain state. Instead, movement restrictions will only be implemented based on locality or focused on certain clusters.”

The prime minister also announced the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) Safe@Work programme to encourage companies to provide Covid-19 safe workplaces and accommodation for workers.

Under this voluntary programme, workers in close contact are separated from the local community and other workers by placing them in “safe work bubbles” until they are considered free of Covid-19. 

Companies in the manufacturing and services sectors are eligible for RM50,000 tax deductions for premise rental and workers’ accommodation, if they are registered with MITI and pass the Safe@Work audit. Companies can start registering from April 1.

Further tax deductions are offered to companies for Covid-19 testing of their employees until December 31 this year.

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