KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Monday (Aug 30) urged Malaysians to get vaccinated immediately to help the country recover from COVID-19.
“We must continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as our main enemy," he said in a televised address ahead of Malaysia’s 64th national day celebrations.
“This success will pave the way for economic recovery in this country and allow us to live in the new normal. The economy should be restored, the well-being of the people should be improved, investor confidence should return.
“Therefore, I would like to call on the Malaysian family to get vaccinated immediately to help in the country’s efforts to recover."
Mr Ismail Sabri noted that vaccines have been shown to have a positive impact on combating the pandemic.
“Based on data and facts, rest assured that only through full cooperation from all parties, the war against the COVID-19 pandemic will end in victory,” he added.
In his speech, the prime minister also reflected on Malaysia’s journey to achieve independence over the last four centuries and called on people to use these lessons to overcome challenges in the present day as a united “Malaysian family”.
Malaysia is in the midst of a tough battle against COVID-19, having averaged more than 20,000 daily cases over the last week.
On Monday, the country recorded 19,268 cases and 295 deaths.
There have been more than 1.7 million COVID-19 cases in Malaysia so far and around 16,400 deaths in total.
As of Monday, 62.6 per cent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated. The government is aiming to raise this figure to 100 per cent by the end of October.
Mr Ismail Sabri also expressed hope that with cooperation from all Malaysians, this will be the last year in which the country celebrates its national day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us free our country from this pandemic, economic turmoil and political instability,” he said.
Mr Ismail Sabri is on self-quarantine after being declared a close contact of a COVID-19 patient. As a result, he missed the swearing-in of the new Cabinet earlier on Monday at the national palace.
He will be participating in Tuesday's national day celebration in Putrajaya virtually.
In announcing his Cabinet last Friday, Mr Ismail Sabri stressed a high-performance work culture among the ministries.
“Each ministry needs to make short-term and long-term planning and achieve the targets. For that, each ministry needs to prove its initial achievement within the first 100 days,” he said.
Mr Ismail Sabri was sworn in as prime minister on Aug 21 following a political power play that saw his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin resign.
In his first televised address the following day, Mr Ismail Sabri called for bipartisan cooperation in Malaysia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the country’s economic recovery.
The vice president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) also touted the “Malaysian family” concept to promote inclusivity across religious, race and ethnic boundaries.
Formerly a senior minister in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Mr Muhyiddin, Mr Ismail Sabri was promoted to deputy prime minister on Jul 7 when UMNO was threatening to pull out of PN.
After Mr Muhyiddin resigned, slightly more than half of the 220 MPs in Malaysia named Mr Ismail Sabri as their candidate of choice to be the next prime minister.
With 114 statutory declarations backing him, the coveted post is back in the grip of UMNO, after two years of premiership under Pakatan Harapan from 2018 to 2020 and subsequently 18 months under PN.
The current government is made up of MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN, comprising UMNO, Malaysia Chinese Association, Malaysian Indian Congress and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah), PN (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku Sabah), Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Parti Bersatu Sabah.