PUTRAJAYA • Malaysia continued to see a surge of new coronavirus cases, reporting 1,032 daily infections yesterday, even as the government sought to make its movement controls more effective in curbing the pandemic.
This marked the second consecutive day the country has recorded over 1,000 fresh cases. Its highest daily tally was 1,240 cases, reported on Oct 26. The country's total infections since the pandemic began now stands at 35,425.
It also recorded eight new fatalities yesterday, raising the death toll to 271.
Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said on Tuesday that a new standard operating procedure for conditional and recovery movement control orders (MCO) has been drawn up as the government seeks more effective intervention in the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most of the country is under the recovery MCO, which bans large gatherings but allows most businesses and activities to resume.
The conditional MCO, currently imposed in certain areas including Kuala Lumpur and the states of Selangor and Sabah, bans inter-district travel, has shut schools and restricts shopping outings to only two members per household.
Seremban, which is about an hour's drive from the capital, has been placed under the conditional MCO, from today. Meanwhile a subdistrict in south-west Penang will begin its conditional MCO tomorrow, after reporting 35 Covid-19 cases in the area.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said the new procedures were tabled at a special National Security Council (NSC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
"We have asked the NSC to fine-tune, update and give improvements to their proposal to avoid any confusion when it is announced later. We do not want the public to be confused about what is to be announced," he said.
He did not, however, provide any details on the proposed new procedures.
Meanwhile, national oil firm Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) said late on Tuesday that it had approved an additional RM10 billion (S$3.3 billion) dividend to the government to help fight the pandemic.
Number of infections reported in Malaysia yesterday.
The coronavirus death toll in Malaysia to date. The country recorded eight new fatalities yesterday.
Earlier this week, the country's Economic Minister had said that Petronas would pay the government - its sole shareholder - RM34 billion in dividends this year.
The firm, which suffered its first loss in nearly five years during the second quarter, had initially pledged to pay RM24 billion and said any additional funding would depend on its affordability.
Petronas said it had approved the additional dividend, to be remitted by the end of this month, in response to "the unprecedented challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic", adding that it had fully paid the amount originally committed.
"In determining whether this additional dividend was affordable, the Petronas board first satisfied itself that the company could comfortably continue to fund its operations, service its debts and meet its obligations as well as invest in its future growth," it said in an e-mail late on Tuesday in response to Reuters' queries.
"Petronas remains resolute in its efforts to preserve cash and strengthen our financial resilience during this unprecedented time."
The dividend announcement comes as the government prepares to table its 2021 budget, aimed at cushioning the economic impact of the pandemic, tomorrow.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS