KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Calls for the National Recovery Council (MPN) to be disbanded is a setback to the government’s efforts to revive the national economy post-Covid-19.
MPN member Datuk Dr Hartini Zainudin said the council had been playing its role by putting forward proposals as well as complementing various government initiatives.
“The KPI (key performance indicator) of MPN is to ensure that we do the best in complementing what other initiatives are done by the government. Everybody has a role to play, and everybody is moving to make sure we recover quicker than we need to.
“What we’ve done is we have made suggestions when the borders should open, we are looking on tourism, economy and so many other things. We divided our focus into pillars, in the economy, education, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs),” she told a media conference yesterday.
Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had before this called for the MPN to be abolished, saying that its functions were unclear and unneeded.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, opined that MPN’s functions overlap with the roles played by think-tanks and other government agencies that act as advisors and implementation bodies.
Hartini, however, said efforts to restore the country post-Covid-19 are expected to take 10 years and this task could prove difficult if it is only carried out by a single body, regardless if it is a political party, sector, or an organisation.
On the welfare of Malaysians, Hartini, a child activist who co-founded the Yayasan Chow Kit child-crisis centre, said welfare issues must be given prominent focus, especially since many B40 category individuals affected by inflation and the Covid-19 pandemic have found themselves in the B60 category.
“Following recommendations in a MPN meeting last year, Yayasan Hasanah went into collaboration with Yayasan Chow Kit to provide emergency food aid to the needy with the help of four non-governmental organisations, including the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and Yayasan Sejahtera.
“So far for the first phase, we have provided 7,600 households with food supply and there are another 8,000 households to go at the end of October. So, that will be about 15,000 households that we have given food supply from the allocations received, but it is still not sufficient,” she said.
Hartini said she will present further proposals to strengthen social security initiatives and the welfare of the vulnerable at the next MPN meeting expected to be held this month.
In addition, she said the presentation will also focus on proposals to provide more food aid, protection to children and mental safety which is seen as important in the ongoing transition to endemic phase. — Bernama