Najib: Don’t give Azmin power to determine what essential industries are

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Mohamed Azmin Ali should not be allowed the final say on who gets into the essential services list for the two-week total lockdown, said Najib Razak.

In a Facebook post, the Pekan member of parliament said the international trade and industry minister should not be given “veto powers” to determine which industry gets in or out.

The former prime minister said the list of sectors allowed to operate must be based on public health advice, since the lockdown was made in the interest of public health.

“The power to decide on the list of sectors allowed to operate during the total lockdown cannot be in the hands of the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) alone.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak at 1mdb trial outside Duta Court Starpic by kamarul ariffin/25.09.2019

“The Miti minister (Azmin) also cannot be given veto powers to add certain factories to the list to prevent ‘towkays’ lobbying the minister,” he said in the post.

Najib said the two-week lockdown from June 1 to June 14 was critical to the country.

“So, get it right this time,” he said.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a total lockdown excluding essential economic sectors and services sectors yesterday to combat the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The total lockdown, similar to the first one imposed in March 2020, came as Covid-19 cases rose to 8,290 yesterday, after three days of more than 7,000 cases and almost a week of 60 deaths daily.

The National Security Council will issue a list of essential economic and services sectors soon, the prime minister said.

The prime minister said the decision was taken after Malaysia continued to record a high number of daily infections and the emergence of new variants that are more aggressive.

“The government will reopen more economic sectors during the second phase of the total lockdown if the number of new infections fall during this first phase of total lockdown.

“The second phase will be over four weeks after the first phase,” the prime minister said.

He said once the second phase is over, the country will return to the current movement-control order stage where social activities will still be prohibited but almost all the economic sectors will be reopened.

The government will decide on the various stages based on the risk assessment by the Health Ministry.

“The Ministry of Finance will look into aid assistance for affected Malaysians and economic sectors. An announcement on this will be made soon,” said Muhyiddin. – TMI