Ismail Sabri interviewed by Bernama TV in the ‘Ruang Bicara’ programme titled ‘Discipline Yourself For The Sake Of The Nation’ last night. –fotoBERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: The need to balance health and the economy was the consideration of the government before relaxing several aspects of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to be implemented in the fifth phase of the MCO, the Conditional MCO (CMCO).

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that if one looked at the economic situation during phase one of the MCO, the loss to the country was huge, at RM2.4 billion a day.

"It (loss) is already RM24 billion in 10 days … now it's more than 40 days (MCO), so the loss is huge.

"Secondly, many people say that the losers are big entrepreneurs, they have to bear it, but we must not forget that if a large company is closed due to losses, the victims are the people, the workers," he said in a 'Ruang Bicara' programme titled "Discipline Yourself For The Sake Of The Nation" on Bernama TV last night.

He said the government expected more than a million workers could lose their jobs if the MCO was not relaxed and continued until June.

"These are the employed, (but for) those who run their own businesses, some are small micro businesses who depend on their daily income to live.

''So they talk not about profit or loss but about whether they can continue to live their lives in terms of their businesses. So, the government is doing a lot of consideration, "he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri, who is also the Minister of Defence, said the government's focus was now on the clusters infected with COVID-19 and also in terms of localities to control outbreaks.

"Now we focus on the localities. Let's say that the Enforced Movement Control Order is suddenly in Chow Kit, in Kampung Baru or the whole of Kampung Baru, then we lock the whole of Kampung Baru, we don't have to lock until Perlis," he explained by giving an example.

He said it would not be fair for the government to restrict a COVID-19 green state, just because there are Red Zone areas in other states.

In terms of inter-state movement, he said Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya were considered as the Klang Valley, and therefore there was no problem over the issue of movement.

Meanwhile, on the issue of illegal immigrants, Ismail Sabri stressed that the action on the groups remained the same, whether before, during or after the MCO.

"We cannot say, we will release you (illegal immigrants) because you came during COVID-19. Cannot, because, if that is the case, we are giving the wrong signal not only to our people but also to those who were set to become illegal immigrants (in order to come to Malaysia), "he said.