KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs to reopen its international borders without mandatory quarantine for the sake of the economy, Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) said today.
He urged the government to work towards reopening Malaysia’s international borders as soon as possible, saying several European countries and Australia had announced that they will be doing so from next month.
“Malaysia cannot stay locked up in a cage and remain separated from the outside world,” he said while debating the King’s speech in the Dewan Rakyat.
Bung, who is also Sabah deputy chief minister, said not reopening the borders will cause the economy to go into a downturn with businesses suffering, people losing their jobs and causing the unemployment rate to rise.
“I want to ask the government this: will we stay locked down (for a long time) or will we follow other countries in opening our borders to ensure the nation’s economy grows? If people have to quarantine when they arrive here, who’s going to come?
“Look into this matter and work on it. Vaccinate everyone, Malaysians and foreigners, then open our borders. Open up the businesses and the economy, so that foreign investors will come to invest.
“I ask the health minister to look into this matter rationally and wisely. The country has nearly been destroyed. State governments will go bankrupt giving food baskets every day,” he said.
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He added that Malaysia seemed to be the only nation in the world that was giving out food baskets to its people.
Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) then interjected, asking Bung if he was complaining about Pakatan Harapan (PH) or the current government but he dodged the question.
Bung also called for more development in Sabah, pointing out that Indonesia was already working on major highways in Kalimantan with the nation moving its capital to the region in the near future.
He said Putrajaya seemed to be unaware that Indonesia was doing this and was not doing anything to leverage on the possible economic benefits.
“If the federal government thinks this is down to the relationship between Sabah and Indonesia, then empower us. Give us the power to negotiate. So far, there’s no movement from Putrajaya on the matter.”
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