KUALA LUMPUR: The international community must work together as a unified and effective unit to address the growing frequency of global health threats.
In his inaugural speech at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said countries across the globe must work in the spirit of the “world family”, a term he coined after the “Keluarga Malaysia” spirit as espoused by the federal government under his leadership.
This world family, he said, must be more effective in health diplomacy and ensure greater collaboration not just to end the Covid-19 pandemic but on an array of other health-related issues.
These include expanding the public health capacity of nations, particularly by enhancing their access to relevant technology and knowledge.
“We truly need to regard public health as a global public good rather than the exclusive domain of individual nations.
“It is because of this that Malaysia will play a more prominent role and participate more actively in health diplomacy, and our approach will be more inter-disciplinary in nature and involve more relevant stakeholders,” he in a pre-recorded video when delivering Malaysia’s national statement during the General Debate at the UNGA held in New York.
As for the pandemic, he said nations around the world could not afford to wait for an even deadlier variant to emerge and claim more lives.
“We need to act now,” he said.
The pandemic, he said, had amplified pre-existing inequalities and uncertainties making it difficult for member nations to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He said Malaysia’s economy, like the rest of the world, was not been spared in which the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 5.6 per cent last year making it the worst decline in more than 20 years since the Asian Financial Crisis.
Malaysia, nevertheless, is making steady progress in weathering the challenges as the result of the economic impact unleashed together with the health crisis as the result of the pandemic.
The country, he said, took a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in addressing this unprecedented crisis including the rolling out of numerous economic stimulus packages worth about USD130 billion or 36 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
“Malaysia also introduced the National Recovery Plan as the nation’s exit strategy from the pandemic.
“This includes speeding up vaccination rates, which stand at more than 500,000 doses daily in recent weeks. It also includes reopening key economic sectors to revive the economy.
“We are pleased that these efforts as well as our pursuit in attaining the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development were commended during our Voluntary National Review in July this year,” he said.
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