MCO-style lockdown must come with aid, Kit Siang’s aide says

Syahredzan Johan today urged the government to ensure adequate financial assistance is given to Malaysians if a movement control order were to be reimplemented. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Syahredzan Johan today urged the government to ensure adequate financial assistance is given to Malaysians if a movement control order were to be reimplemented. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang Syahredzan Johan today urged the government to ensure adequate financial assistance is given to Malaysians if a movement control order were to be reimplemented.

This comes after Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said the Malaysian healthcare system is now “pressured and at a breaking point” and there is a need for a circuit breaker or targeted lockdown instead of a full lockdown of the whole country.

Dr Noor Hisham said this could be in the form of a localised MCO or targeted enhanced MCO.

“It should be noted that the MCO and TEMCO implemented earlier have resulted in job losses, reduction in income and negative impacts to the public. The financial assistance given earlier was also not enough to the point that people had to rely on their EPF savings.

“If the government doesn’t provide greater financial support, it will have a negative impact on the financial situation of the people and they will continue to suffer,” he said.

The civil liberties lawyer also pointed out that the government has yet to spell out its short and long-term plans to counter the pandemic that was nearing a year old and despite calls for it to do so.

Yesterday, Malaysia reported a new record high of 2,593 Covid-19 cases, with 965 detected in Selangor itself.

Dr Noor Hisham said that the Ministry of Health is also studying new containment strategies following the spike of Covid-19 cases after Malaysia allowed interstate travel to resume.

During his daily briefing, Dr Noor Hisham did not directly answer questions on whether the travel ban should be reintroduced but admitted that a more targeted approach was needed in allowing travel within certain states.

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