PM Muhyiddin to speak on Malaysia's coronavirus recovery at 4pm

Malaysia's Recovery Movement Control Order is expected to end on Aug 31. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will update Malaysians on the progress of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) at 4pm on Monday (July 20), midway through the relaxed phase of the government's nationwide battle to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of new daily cases since the RMCO replaced stricter curbs on June 10 has mostly been in single digits, despite restarting nearly all social, economic and religious activities while adhering to strict social distancing protocols and safety measures.

Malaysia's borders are also set to reopen soon, and talks with Singapore have been ongoing to allow travel between the two neighbours for work purposes to resume by Aug 10.

Contact sports, cinemas and larger-scale gatherings were given the green light on July 15 to restart activities, even as the country braces for a recession.

Last month, the government announced a fourth stimulus package this year, bringing the total spending from public coffers to cushion the blow of the pandemic to RM45 billion (S$14.7 billion).

But the injections have not stopped unemployment from reaching 5.3 per cent, the highest since the 1980s.

The Malaysian economy is likely to be dealt another blow soon, as a six-month loan moratorium will end in September. The moratorium has allowed all borrowers to defer debt payments, as many businesses and individuals have been struggling to meet their commitments.

Last Saturday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin urged the public to "spend for Malaysia" to help the nation's economic recovery.

"Spending can increase the multiplier effect on the economy, create job opportunities and subsequently boost the people's income," he said.

The RMCO is expected to end on Aug 31, but the government has repeatedly exhorted members of the public to remain vigilant in practising social distancing and good hygiene, warning that stricter measures could be reintroduced if cases spike.

Malaysia has averaged 14 new cases daily since last Friday.

Since the RMCO was put in place, Malaysia has recorded only six deaths from Covid-19, out of the 123 recorded so far in total.

Malaysia on Sunday reported the cumulative number of infections at 8,779, out of which more than 97 per cent have recovered.

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