KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The appointment of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the ninth prime minister will enable the National Recovery Plan (PPN) to stay on track, including in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and implement the vaccination programme.
The Bera Member of Parliament (MP) had been among the key figures in the previous government entrusted with the responsibility of drawing up and updating the standard operating procedure (SOP) as well as implementing other measures to ensure the COVID-19 chain of infection can be broken.
Although some of his announcements on the Movement Control Order (MCO) and security aspects of ‘Op Benteng’ might not have gone down well with people at times, as the Senior Minister (Security Cluster) and Defence Minister he had to take certain approaches for the sake of the people’s well-being.
Throughout his tenure as senior minister, Ismail Sabri, 61, had frequently reminded the people on the importance of abiding by the SOP to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
The grouses of small and medium businesses and long-distance married couples impacted by the implementation of the MCO had also constantly received the attention of the UMNO vice-president.
As soon as he was appointed deputy prime minister on July 7, Ismail Sabri, an approachable and friendly politician, also took the approach of focusing on SOP compliance in the manufacturing sector, which according to him was among the contributors to workplace clusters.
As the defence minister, he was instrumental in setting up more Field Hospitals to help ease the burden of the Health Ministry (MoH) in treating COVID-19 patients.
In fact, when most people were soundly asleep, Ismail Sabri was known to have gone down to the ground to visit frontliners manning roadblocks, enquiring about their well-being and cheering them up.
With regard to the vaccination programme, the father of four children took great pains to encourage the people to sign up for vaccination and also visited several vaccination centres to ensure the smooth running of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) launched on Feb 24.
As the Bera MP, he has been regularly visiting his constituents, including families who lost their sources of income and jobs after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.