KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has emphasised that the government will not rush into reopening the country's borders.
On the contrary, border controls would be tightened, including increasing efforts to check the entrance of illegal immigrants to curb the spread of COVID-19, he said on Tuesday (Sep 15).
READ: Malaysia’s recovery movement control order extended to Dec 31, tourists still not allowed in: PM Muhyiddin
Muhyiddin said that although the tighter border controls would pose a bit of difficulty, especially for Malaysians with dealings overseas, such strict action was needed to protect the country and its people from the novel coronavirus.
"We must strike a fine balance between protecting lives and livelihoods of all Malaysians," he said in a televised address on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Malaysia's borders are closed except for business purposes, including for investment and education, with strict compliance of stipulated standard operating procedures.
The prime minister announced that a total of 1,017 foreign visitors to the country tested positive for COVID-19 from Apr 3 to Sep 15.
He said that the COVID-19 situation in other countries showed that some nations were now facing a new wave of infections, and stressed that the same thing could happen in Malaysia if people became complacent.
READ: Pub, nightclub activities top list of COVID-19 violations during Malaysia’s recovery movement control order phase
Apart from measures taken by the government, the practice of new norms among the people was the most important factor in efforts to break the chain of infection, Muhyiddin said.
"I hope we all continue to be strong, resilient and disciplined in facing the pandemic. Remind ourselves to continue to cultivate these new norms in our daily lives," he said.