KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26– The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country is considered the best way to boost economic growth.
Malaysian Academy of Sciences fellow Datuk Dr Madeline Berma said the vaccine also provided a sign that the government no longer needed to implement the Movement Control Order (MCO), including the possibility of fully opening the economic sector.
“When the government implemented MCO earlier, we saw at that time the economy contracted more than 17 per cent, our domestic and external economy was affected because at that time there was no vaccine… what was implemented then was only by practising physical distancing while all forms of the economy, movement and so on, stopped.
“But with the vaccine today, economically we do not need a lockdown anymore and there is no reason for the government to implement it,” she said.
She said this when appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme entitled ‘Setahun Malaysia Prihatin (Economics, Politics and Legislation)’ here, yesterday.
She said even though the country already has the vaccine, it was important the people should continue to practise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and take care of themselves to help curb the transmission of COVID-19 infection optimally.
Meanwhile, on the government’s care in governing the country last year, Political and Legal analyst Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Halim Sidek said what the government had done so far proved it has been looking into the welfare of the people, especially when the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Actually, for me personally, it is not possible to compare the current government with the previous government because in the history of Malaysia, this is the first time a government was set up at a time it faced the greatest challenge on the COVID-19 issue, economy and so on.
“This needs a tremendous focus and support from all parties regardless of the opposition or government or department… This government is called a caring government because of many programmes and agendas were implemented for the people,” he said.
Malaysia received its first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine supply involving 312,390 doses last Sunday (Feb 21).