08/10/2021
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Towards a full recovery

Sin Chew Daily

Malaysia’s adult vaccination rate is approaching 90%, which is just a shade from the threshold to liberalize interstate travels.

The government is going to open up interstate travels very soon, and is set to classify the coronavirus as an endemic and adopt the “live with the virus” strategy.

In the meantime, Malaysians, in particular the operators in various economic sectors, have readied themselves to embrace the post-pandemic environment.

Take the Klang Valley for instance, daily new infection numbers which used to be above 10k each day have now moderated to only a couple of thousands or even below a thousand.

Having progressed to the third phase of the national recovery plan, signs of recovery begin to emerge in the market, as people are more willing to spend. This can be attributed to the successful implementation of the national immunization program. The vaccines have provided some degree of protection and people can now begin to adapt themselves to live with the virus. They are more prepared to go out to work, resume their businesses, indulge in recreational activities and spend.

Having liberated themselves from long months of lockdowns, all sorts of consumption needs which used to be suppressed are now set free.

That said, we are still being threatened by the highly transmissible virus variants, and Malaysians must continue to exercise a high level of self discipline and strictly adhere to the SOPs to stave off breakthrough infections that will exacerbate the situation, as the country enters the phase of endemic. This is the only way for us to counter the challenges from broader reopening of our country.

Feeling the warming consumption sentiment, local businesses are beginning to engage themselves in all kinds of promotional events to stimulate their sales.

Overall speaking, while there is palpable improvement in the market environment, some industries are nevertheless still struggling, and a more evident recovery in business activities will only be seen in the last quarter of the year when more sectors are opening up, including interstate travels.

As finance minister Tengku Zafrul has said, the contrary’s roadmap to recovery had been mapped out in June during the introduction of the national recovery plan. The progress we have made thus far shows that we are on the right track.

When almost 100% of the country’s adult population has been fully vaccinated against the virus and encouraging progress is made in our youth immunization program, we will see renewed recovery with significantly more robust economic vibrancy.

The foundation of the country’s long-term recovery and reformation will be established upon this national recovery plan, along with the 12th Malaysia Plan and the 2022 Budget.

The 12MP unveiled recently has been widely slammed as being not inclusive enough and lacking the momentum for innovation. Moreover, post-pandemic planning has also been unsatisfactory, and the government still has the chance to introduce remedial solutions to the NRP and the upcoming Budget.

The government signed a memorandum of understanding with the opposition Pakatan Harapan on September 13, allowing it to focus in tackling the pandemic and reviving the national economy.

Indeed, political stability provides a great opportunity for the government to concentrate on the country’s recovery, and we hope the government is able to come up with some effective solutions to revitalize the economy through the Budget.

According to Tengku Zafrul, the 2022 Budget will prioritize the country’s post-pandemic recovery, restoration and reform.

The 2022 Budget will be tabled in Parliament on October 29, and the government is setting its sights on delivering the country out of the current COVID-19 crisis and various stages of lockdowns towards a full-fledged recovery next year, while dealing with the “scarring effects” on the country’s socioeconomic front from the coronavirus by way of a series of strategic measures.

The government will continue to focus on preserving and safeguarding the lives of the people and restoring the livelihoods of companies and individuals in reestablishing the country’s resilience and catalyzing its post-pandemic reforms.

We have finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel in our longstanding battle against the virus. While we can stay upbeat about the future, there is actually a lot more the government can do for the people.

First and foremost, the government must ensure that Malaysians and companies have sufficient cash flow because ordinary citizens and some local businesses have suffered drastically slashed incomes owing to protracted lockdowns. They all need the assistance from the government.

Next, the government must strive to rebuild the country’s business environment in a bid to lure more foreign investments and boost business confidence in enhancing the country’s post-pandemic economic resilience.

The finance minister has also said that what the country needs most at this moment is audacity. Indeed, the government needs to fearlessly implement more liberal economic policies to make Malaysia a much more competitive and diverse economy.

As for the rakyat, having suffered the impact from the pandemic, it is now time for us to uphold a more responsible attitude as we prepare to live with the virus, and boldly face the challenges that lie ahead of us.

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