KUALA LUMPUR, August 13 — Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today he plans to increase the ceiling for the Covid-19 Fund if he survives an upcoming confidence vote in Parliament.
According to the embattled prime minister, who essentially acknowledged that he has lost majority support in Parliament, his administration aims to add RM45 billion on top of the RM65 billion that was approved by the Parliament last year, making the total Covid-19 Fund RM110 billion.
“This increase will help meet additional needs in overcoming the Covid-19 crisis in terms of strengthening the health care system, improving assistance to the people and supporting business continuity,” Muhyiddin said in a televised broadcast.
Muhyiddin also mentioned that the government will ramp up Covid-19 testing initiatives as well as effective contact tracing measures and isolate people who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“In order to combat the Covid-19 health crisis, additional provisions will be provided to enhance and expedite Covid-19 screening measures, detection of close contacts and and isolate positive cases, or test, trace and isolate.
“The government will also strengthen the health care system, especially in increasing health care personnel and the capacity of intensive care units (ICU), including outsourcing patients from public to private hospitals, in line with the whole-of-nation approach.”
Muhyiddin, who noted the current political instability in the country, expressed plans to get MPs across political parties to support him in the parliamentary confidence vote scheduled on September 7.
Thus, he called on political party leaders to join hands with the government to implement plans to end the Covid-19 epidemic in Malaysia.
Muhyiddin pointed out that if he were to resign as PM, his Cabinet would also have to quit, noting that no other MP currently can claim majority support of Parliament to be prime minister.
“What will happen to our country if the political crisis continues and a new government cannot be formed immediately? Which government will ensure that the vaccination programme runs smoothly and on schedule?” he questioned.
Under Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s leadership, the national Covid-19 vaccination programme has been running at breakneck speed in the past two months, inoculating half of Malaysia’s total population with at least one vaccine dose by August 10.
Muhyiddin also reiterated the government’s earlier projection to completely inoculate all adults in Malaysia under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) by October and half of the population aged 18 and above by the end of August.
As of yesterday, 42 per cent of the adult population have completed Covid-19 vaccination in the country, although the majority of the states haven’t fully inoculated 40 per cent of their adult populations.
States like Melaka, Terengganu, Penang and Perak have only fully vaccinated less than 40 per cent of adults, whereas Pahang, Kelantan, Kedah, Johor and Sabah have vaccinated less than 30 per cent of adults with two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The target to fully vaccinate 50 per cent of the adult population in the country by the end of August will allow us to reopen economic and social activities more widely to drive the country’s economic recovery,” Muhyiddin added.