He said this decision was taken after two of the six strategies adopted by the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience through the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package have yielded positive results.
“We are ready to carry out our third approach, which is to reopen economic activities nationwide in a controlled and careful manner. As such, the government will now be implementing the Conditional Movement Control Order or CMCO,” he said in his special address in conjunction with Workers’ Day today.
However, activities that involved large gatherings and ones that could expose the public to the risks of infection are still disallowed, the prime minister stressed.
The next three strategies to be taken are economic recovery measures while dealing with the new normal, revitalising the economy in a comprehensive manner for continuity and reforming economic structures.
Elaborating, Muhyiddin said the government would need to find ways to balance the need to revive the country’s economy and curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the nation has suffered estimated losses of about RM63 billion so far throughout the MCO period, adding that many have had their financial positions affected by the pandemic.
“I am aware that after almost two months of the MCO, many of you who want to return to work. Traders want to resume businesses and industries want to operate again.
“This is important as employment and businesses are a source of income and your livelihood. If we are to be placed under MCO for too long, we could lose all that (livelihood) and this will have a negative impact on one’s financial position,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the government had decided to restart economic sectors in a controlled or orderly manner by enforcing strict standard operating procedures on the advice of the Health Ministry (MOH) based on accumulated data and best practices determined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said besides inter-state travel, this includes not allowing industries and businesses, sports activities, social and religious ceremonies and functions that involve mass gatherings.
“The SOPs also include practising social distancing, washing hands frequently, wearing face masks, reporting information on COVID-19 to the Health Department, and to prioritise the protection of vulnerable groups such as children, babies, senior citizens and people with disabilities (OKU).
“Besides this, individuals who are unwell and with symptoms are required to undergo health checks, public transport passengers must maintain social distancing while online transactions are encouraged,” he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has dropped sharply, besides there being more green zones over red ones, and he attributed this to the sacrifices made by the people during the MCO period.
However, he warned that there is always the risk of a rise in infections once the people return to work, and this scenario must be avoided.
“I am aware that you are concerned. I am also worried as this situation has happened in several countries which recorded a surge in new cases after lifting their lockdowns. This, we must prevent,” he said.
Muhyiddin urged the people not to panic or to concede defeat, and instead place their trust and confidence in the capabilities of the country’s COVID-19 frontliners.
“However, what is more important is ourselves. Our responsibilities. Our personal hygiene. Don’t leave home unless necessary and follow the SOPs at all times. Wear your face mask when you are out in public areas and bring along your hand sanitiser as well,” he added.