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Fed gov't studying whether necessary to ban all flights from China: PM

CORONAVIRUS | The government is studying whether there is a need to block all flights from China into the country, according to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir said this when asked if Putrajaya is going to follow in the steps of the Sabah state government, which earlier today announced a temporary ban on all flights that originated from China.

"There is yet to be the need (to do so).

"We are studying whether we need to stop all flights or only those that come from Wuhan and Hubei province," he said in Putrajaya.

Mahathir spoke to reporters after attending a Meet-and-Greet (Ramah Mesra Bersama PM) Programme with the Rural Development Ministry's strategic partners, held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Earlier today, the Borneo Post reported that Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew (below) announced the state has decided to temporarily suspend all scheduled and chartered flights from China to Sabah.

According to Liew, the travel suspension is effective immediately, and the decision was made in the interest of the people's welfare.

Sarawak authority, meanwhile, had also issued an order disallowing its students from China from entering the state.

According to Berita Harian, Sarawak state disaster management committee has advised all students from China who have returned to their home country, especially those from Hubei province, to quarantine themselves at home.

Meanwhile, at the event, Mahathir reminded the audience of about 1,000 on the importance of closing the income gap between those who live in the rural and urban areas.

According to Mahathir (below), this was why the government introduced the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, where the poor are given the opportunity to improve their income and livelihood.

However, he said, the recipients of government projects and assistance should not abuse them and take shortcuts by selling the projects to a third party.

Saying that this was what had happened during previous government initiatives under the New Economic Policy, the government would not tolerate such practices anymore.

Those who are found to pass their projects to a third party would see their contracts revoked.

"This is why we want to ensure that all contracts and opportunities are made use of properly. If we find that (the contracts) are sold, we will take back these opportunities.

"This is one of the things that had been a hindrance to (the success) of government policies," Mahathir said.