Ismail Sabri calls for unity in war against Covid-19, amid public flak over Putrajaya’s policy blunder

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a press conference in Putrajaya June 10, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a press conference in Putrajaya June 10, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today called on the public and warring political parties to set aside all differences and unite in the fight against a ravaging coronavirus.

In a seeming appeal for support, the minister said the nation is “at war” with a disease that is spreading fast, and that the government needs the public to stand behind its effort to defeat a common enemy, pointing to the alarming sharp spikes in daily Covid-19 cases.

“I hope we all can understand that our main enemy now is Covid-19,” he told reporters at the National Security Council daily briefing on the outbreak here.

“The nation is at war with Covid-19. So I appeal to everyone, we must be united and work together to fight this Covid-19. Let’s put aside our differences, political or others, because what is important is, we are facing a common enemy,” he said in his media briefing.

“We must focus on battling this pandemic,” he added.

The rallying call was made amid public flak over the many communication blunders that caused widespread confusion, among others about the government’s work-from-home (WFH) policy implemented starting today.

The Council made multiple changes to its WFH and other directives in the span of just three days, causing widespread confusion among industries and businesses who said the lack of clarity made preparations difficult and costly.

Earlier today the Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) said the WFH also implies “double standards”, with the lives of white-collar workers seemingly prized above the lives of other staff.

Mohd Faisal Husin, secretary of MTUC’s Selangor and Federal Territories division, also lamented the lack of consultation among unions and workers despite implementing policies that affect them.

An estimated 800,000 private sector employees and 200,000 civil servants in management and supervisory roles in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Sabah and Labuan are told to work from home starting October 22 until the end of the CMCO.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, responsible for the drawing up the policy, said yesterday only a maximum of 10 per cent of those in the said positions can be in the office.

However, the hours will be limited to between 10am to 2pm for three days in a week.

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