In response to open letter, PM Muhyiddin assures govt has taken all necessary measures to combat Covid-19, welcomes health experts’ advice on the matter

A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has assured health experts that the government has taken every necessary measure to combat the spread of Covid-19 while still welcoming any expert advice on the matter.

In an official statement today, Muhyiddin was responding to an open letter issued on January 7, which was co-signed by 46 health experts, that listed 10 critical avenues for the government to focus in order to effectively combat the spread of Covid-19.

Among the critical actions recommended were the ramping up of testing through inexpensive antigen rapid test kits (RTK), automatic contact tracing through digital apps, home quarantine for stage 1 and 2 Covid-19 patients with set guidelines as well as the adoption of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach through the Preventing and early detection of Outbreaks at Ignition Sites (POIS) initiative, among others.

“Thank you for laying out in your letter the importance of an all-of-the-society approach. Indeed, we have been pursuing this since the onset of the pandemic almost a year ago. I agree that we must continue and, where possible, enhance our efforts to engage with the communities, the industries, the private sector and other key components of our Malaysian society.

Seeking ways to improve compliance with regulations in force for the greater good of our people remains the key priority of my administration, as does continue efforts to improve prevention,” said Muhyiddin.

In the statement, Muhyiddin reiterated that poor compliance starting from the Sabah elections had prompted the third wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia and that the government has taken drastic measures such as implementing the movement control order (MCO) and calling for a state of Emergency to allow the government to focus on combating Covid-19.

He also signalled a willingness for possible meetings between the signatories of the letter and representatives of the Ministry of Health, his special adviser on health and even himself to discuss any ideas or advice.

“I would be open to listen to your advice and ideas so that we can all collectively contribute to reduce the number of infections and subsequent impact on the lives of the rakyat.

“I agree to form a Health and Scientific Covid-19 Advisory Group which will advise the government on matters related to Covid-19 pandemic management, and I urge you to nominate suitable candidates to be members of this advisory group,” he said.

Muhyiddin also assured that his administration’s priority at the moment is to contain the spread of the virus and will continue to call for a collective endeavour in facing the crisis.

“Let me also address the final point in your letter and assure you that my administration’s primary focus is on managing the nation’s response to this pandemic and on mitigating the stark social and economic consequences. I have called for, and will continue to call for, a collective endeavour.

“I will continue to put aside politics, focus on working across society to end this pandemic and shepherding the country through the difficult recovery that must follow. I appreciate your desire to support the government on this and look forward to engaging with your representatives accordingly,” he said.