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Momentum of COVID-19 vaccination programme should not be disrupted: Malaysian caretaker PM Muhyiddin

In a televised address, Mr Muhyiddin Yassin said: "I hope the new government which takes over the administration of this country will take good care of all of you because it is the only thing that I care about.”

Momentum of COVID-19 vaccination programme should not be disrupted: Malaysian caretaker PM Muhyiddin

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin receives his first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 24, 2021. (Photo: Department of Information Malaysia/Maszuandi Adnan)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's caretaker prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Monday (Aug 16) that the momentum of the national immunisation programme should not be disrupted amid the country's political uncertainty. 

During a televised address announcing his resignation as prime minister, Mr Muhyiddin expressed hope that a new government can be formed immediately so that the country's administration can speed up efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said: "This next two months is very important as we are expected to achieve herd immunity in October. All the plans that have been outlined in the National Recovery Plan must not be stunted." 

"Economic sectors need to be reopened to ensure that the country's economy can recover quickly and the people can generate income to support themselves and their families.

"Thus, the momentum of the implementation of the vaccination program should not be disrupted. Our record of the number of daily vaccinations among the highest in the world must be maintained," he added. 

On Monday, Mr Muhyiddin was appointed Malaysia’s caretaker prime minister, after his resignation was accepted by the king. 

In a statement issued by the national palace, it said that the king has received the letter of resignation from Mr Muhyiddin and the entire Cabinet with effect from Monday.

Mr Muhyiddin said he tendered his resignation as he had lost majority support in the House, triggered by a number of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) lawmakers, led by party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who withdrew their support for Mr Muhyiddin, compromising his already razor-thin parliamentary majority.

Amid the political uncertainty, Mr Muhyiddin urged Malaysians not to worry about the country's fight against the pandemic, stressing that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has ordered more than 87 million doses of vaccine for the people. 

"I hope the new government which takes over the administration of this country will take good care of all of you because it is the only thing that I care about. I care for you always," said Mr Muhyiddin. 

"I am always concerned about the fate of my brothers and sisters because I consider you as my own children," he added. 

Mr Muhyiddin also expressed optimism that Malaysia will be able to get out of the COVID-19 crisis in the near future. He cited a "positive development" where the admission rate of COVID-19 patients to hospitals across all age groups has begun to decline in the Klang Valley. 

A medical staff member administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a health personnel at Sunway Medical Center in Subang Jaya, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, on March 11, 2021. (Photo: Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

"Hopefully, with the increasing vaccination program, more lives can be saved and you all can return to normal life," said Mr Muhyiddin. 

During his 17-month tenure as premier, Mr Muhyiddin has been criticised by some quarters for failing to lead the Malaysian government effectively in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysia is in the midst of its deadliest COVID-19 wave, with daily infection numbers averaging 20,000 cases.

On Monday, Malaysia recorded 19,740 new COVID-19 cases. 

In total, the country has seen more than 1.4 million COVID-19 cases and more than 12,000 deaths.

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Source: CNA/am
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