PUTRAJAYA (May 17): The National Recovery Council (MPN) has recommended that the government come up with new initiatives and assistance to help increase the capacity of tourism industry players who have been severely affected for the past two years following the Covid-19 pandemic.
MPN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters after chairing the MPN meeting here on Tuesday (May 17) that the tourism sector was among the most affected by the pandemic, which saw the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia dropped by almost 99.5% in 2021 compared to 2019.
He said factors such as the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and global political instability, as well as Chia’s decision to keep its borders closed had indirectly affected the country's tourism sector and its recovery process.
He said the meeting also touched on the performance of the Malaysian economy in the first quarter of this year, which recorded a growth of 5% compared to a contraction of 0.5% in the same quarter of 2021.
He said the good economic performance was supported by the increased domestic demand, after most economic sectors were reopened in stages through the National Recovery Plan.
“Alhamdulillah, the country’s economic performance, which showed a significant improvement in the first quarter of 2022, proves that measures taken by the government during the pandemic and post-pandemic period are accurate,” he said.
At the same time, Muhyiddin said the MPN also proposed to the government to reactivate the special food security council to increase domestic production in an effort to address food security issues.
“This is a global problem and Malaysia is no exception in facing the problem of food supply which has been somewhat affected after the pandemic.
“The food production sector, including essential items, is declining. For that, we are facing price hikes in the supply chain of raw materials, including fertilizers and livestock feeds, which caused the prices of meat and poultry in the market to be higher than usual,” he said.
He said the production of local raw materials had not reached the subsistence level and caused the country to continue to import food supplies for the people.
Muhyiddin said the action to reactivate the special council was also seen as one of the measures to address the problem of inflation, even though it was not a complete solution.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said the proposed state recovery council was still relevant, even though the country was in a phase of transition to endemic because the post-pandemic recovery was not only a national issue, but also an issue that needs to be equally tackled at the state level.
“We have agreed. The Cabinet has also agreed, just waiting for the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob) to sign the letter for each state to set up their own state recovery council soon,” he said.
In October last year, Muhyiddin suggested that each state have its own recovery council chaired by the menteri besar and chief minister respectively, to ensure that the National Recovery Plan (PPN) can be implemented comprehensively.
He said a national conference related to the PPN would be held at the end of this year to discuss important topics or issues related to the country's recovery.