Parliament in one day sitting. Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: At a time when the nation is still hard in battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said the government’s main focus now is to ensure the people’s well-being and safety is assured and protected.

His Majesty said measures taken include implementing the movement control order (MCO) and to repatriate Malaysians stranded abroad.

Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed confidence that in dealing with the pandemic, the government will continue to take efforts to minimise the impact of the crisis on the people and the nation.

“Truly, our country is now facing so many challenges with the latest being the Covid-19 outbreak. All of these challenges have impacted Malaysia, which practices an open economy.

“The Covid-19 pandemic that has swept around the world and also our nation has affected the economic livelihood, health and the well-being of the people. Never has the nation face a pandemic as serious as this,” the Agong said in his royal address when opening the Third Session of the 14th Parliament at Parliament House, here today.

Officiating the ceremony which His Majesty described as oddly out of the norm with social distancing now being the main priority as a result of the pandemic, Al-Sultan Abdullah said the same scenario is likely to apply in the post-Covid-19 era.

In his Royal Address, the Agong said investment in research should be enhanced including development and innovation in order to develop the much-needed human capital, particularly in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“I am all for the empowerment of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to prepare our youths to face new challenges in the working world,” His Majesty said.

In his 30-minute address, Al-Sultan Abdullah also touched on the country’s tourism industry, which as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, has forced the cancellation of Visit Malaysia 2020.

“Efforts to revive the country’s tourism sector must continue. At the same time, industry players must strengthen tourism products and packages and preserve existing infrastructure in the push to revive the nation’s reputable tourism sector.

On issues concerning the welfare of children, women, senior citizens, persons with disabilities (OKU) and the needy, as well as basic infrastructure, home-ownership, cost of living and agriculture, Al-Sultan Abdullah said they will continue to be addressed by the government.

“My government will also continue to commit to improving access to equitable health services for the people.

“Healthcare services will be empowered with a focus on prevention and treatment in a holistic manner, including reaching out to the rural, Orang Asli and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

The Agong also called on the nation to continue addressing environment and climate change issues and to strengthen environmental laws and enforcement and cooperation, including with countries in the region.

Before ending his royal address, His Majesty also expressed his appreciation for the contributions of the public service, the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysia Police and government agencies, pointing out that they had contributed greatly to the country’s development that enabled Malaysia to become a peaceful, prosperous and respected nation.

“I truly appreciate their loyalty and contributions…I also urge that the trust and responsibilities shouldered in carrying out their duties for the nation and the people are executed well, fairly and professionally regardless of race, religion or position.

“At the same time, I urge the people to continue to give their cooperation to my government to ensure continuity in the efforts to develop the nation,” he added. – Bernama