By Dhiya Damia and Hakim Mahari
KUALA LUMPUR, 17 September 2021: The newly formed government must double its efforts and resolve all issues immediately so the country and its people can move on from the current COVID-19 pandemic, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said.
The King said Malaysia is on the right track to resolving COVID-19 issues through the formation of the National Recovery Council (NRC), implementation of the COVID-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) as well as financial assistance and economic stimulus packages for the people.
With this in mind, the King said the “whole-of-society” strategy needs to be ramped up through effective communication narratives, adding that the government’s Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) is very much welcomed in educating the public to live with the COVID-19 virus.
The King has also called on all leaders and the government to understand the people’s predicament and noted the role of government aids in assisting those affected, saying such measures to distribute cash hand-outs had benefited 10 million recipients from the B40 and M40 groups in the second half of 2021.
“I am very concerned about the fate of my people who have been affected following implementations of various measures by the government in its effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thus, I call on all Members of Parliament and relevant government agencies to act proactively by going down to the ground to check and dive into the people’s issues and monitor the achievements of all programmes that have been announced,” the King said.
In his speech when opening the First Meeting of the Fourth Term of the 14th Parliament on Monday (13 September), the King said social security network programmes such as the Cakna Regional Initiatives and Independent business regions must be continued.
At the same time, Al-Sultan Abdullah said rural development programmes must also be empowered considering there are currently 7.6 million Malaysians living in such areas, including 198,015 Orang Asli.
Given this reality, the King said the government needs to come up with a strategic plan for rural development in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) covering matters on the economy, entrepreneurship, human capital, and delivery systems.
The government, he said, also needs to focus on improving infrastructure in the country by providing broadband services, adding that this effort would encourage the transformation of the government’s delivery system, economic growth as well as empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
No matter the challenges, the King said education must not be forgotten as it is vital in ensuring the future of young Malaysians, and this includes a focus on moral and spiritual education.
“Education post-COVID-19 pandemic needs a long-term plan that is sustainable and transparent as well as holistic and comprehensive in nature.”
On the country’s security, Al-Sultan Abdullah urged all relevant agencies to always be prepared and intensify their efforts in protecting the nation’s sovereignty.***