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Muhyiddin welcomes ideas from health experts to reduce COVID-19 cases

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18): Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says he welcomes advice and ideas from health experts to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in the country, and its subsequent impact on the lives of people.

He also invited some signatories of an open letter written by health experts earlier this month, to meet him and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba to further discuss the matter.

"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 in a statement.

Muhyiddin was responding to an open letter sent to him by a group of health experts on Jan 7, who proposed 10 urgent and critical actions lest Malaysia slips into COVID-19 intensive care.

He also thanked them for pointing out the importance of an all-of-the society approach in the letter and agreed to continue and enhance all efforts to engage with the communities, the industries, the private sector and other key components of Malaysian society.

Muhyiddin said with the strategies implemented during the second wave, the curve had been flattened and the daily number of COVID-19 cases reduced to a single digit for almost three months.

"However, with the increased movement of people and poor compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOP) beginning with the Sabah state election, the daily cases had increased again, following which a third wave was declared on September 20 last year," he said.

As the cases continued to rise, he said the government was forced to take more stringent measures such as the Proclamation of Emergency by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, which took effect from Jan 11-Aug 1 to control the spread of COVID-19.

He added that pursuant to the proclamation of emergency, Al-Sultan Abdullah had promulgated the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which allows the government to manage the pandemic more effectively.

Muhyiddin said the government will also continue to put aside politics, focus on working across society to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and shepherd the country through a difficult recovery process.

"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 appreciate your desire to support the government on this and look forward to engaging with your representatives accordingly," he said.

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