The Perikatan Nasional government’s biggest test is how to effectively manage and contain the spread of Covid-19, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
The Umno deputy president said the new government faced many challenges, but the biggest was how to tackle the impact of Covid-19, the Malaysian economy and national security.
“Covid-19 has turned out to be a very serious non-traditional national security threat.
“We are actually facing an escalating global crisis, with cases being reported in more countries and casualties increasing,” he said in a statement.
Mohamad said the country would have to exhaust all avenues and use whatever resources available to fight the virus.
“Covid-19 should not be seen as a health crisis alone. It is actually a threat to our national security,” he said.
He said the government’s initiative to come up with an economic stimulus package may be commendable, but it was only a small part of managing the crisis.
“Preparing Malaysians and getting them to do the right things in case the situations worsens is extremely important.
“Our response cannot be on a piecemeal basis.
“We need to approach this in its totality, right from the number of medical teams available, budget, border control, scientific research, communications and at the same time, keeping the economy resilient,” he said.
Mohamad stressed that this was necessary as the Covid-19 was not expected to go away anytime soon.
“Our resolve will continue to be tested as we look at ways to fight it, and that is why our preparedness needs to be muti-faceted,” he said.
He said other governments also needed to come up with radical and foolproof plans to combat the virus, rather than finding more effective ways to treat the sick or preventing its spread.
As of late Thursday (March 5), the number of Covid-19 cases worldwide rose to 97,510, including 3,345 deaths across 85 countries and territories.
China – excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macau – where the epidemic emerged at the end of December, had 80,409 cases, of which 3,012 were fatal.
Malaysia, meanwhile, registered 55 cases.