KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — The National Recovery Council (NRC) said today it has suggested for the country’s international borders to be fully reopened without any mandatory quarantine by next month.

Its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said however visitors should undergo Covid-19 tests prior to and right after arriving in the country, as recommended by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“The council suggested, firstly, that the borders of the country be fully opened in the near future to support the recovery of the country. 

“In this regard, the Council agreed that the country’s borders could be fully opened as early as March 1, 2022 without the need for mandatory quarantine,” he said in a press conference after an NRC meeting.

“However, the Covid-19 test before departure and upon arrival at the national border gate must be done according to the MOH’s recommendations. The opening of national borders needs to be implemented in a planned manner and based on current risk assessments,” he added.

Muhyiddin said the decision was made after the council listened to a briefing by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, and read the paper on the matter by Immigration Director-General Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud.

Muhyiddin also said the two other papers evaluated today by the council are “Additional allocation for SME Strengthening Fund (SMERF) and SME Emergency Fund (SMEEF)” by chief executive of SME Corp Rizal Nainy and “Issues and challenges of the post-pandemic construction sector” by chief executive of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Datuk Ir. Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid.

Commenting on the two papers, Muhyiddin said the council recommends that the adjustment of all financial assistance by various parties be implemented systematically to increase the use of resources and based on needs so that there is no duplication and more entrepreneurs who are really affected can continue to receive assistance as well as supporting the recommendations by CIDB.

Today, Muhyiddin also announced the appointment of NRC secretariat's new chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob, effective February 1.

The council was formed in September last year and chaired by Muhyiddin who acted as chairman with ministerial status with Khairy, Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Jidin and Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadilah Yusof representing the government.

Opposition politicians in the council include Tan Sri Bernard Dompok of Upko, former health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad from Amanah, Chong Chien Jen from DAP and Wong Chen from PKR.

Other members from the public are Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Datuk Habibah Abdul Rahim, Datuk Michael Kang, Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Datuk Hartini Zainuddin and Dr Sivakumar Thurairajasingam representing expert from various field and industries.