Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that around 10 million face masks will be distributed to all citizens of Malaysia who require them. He stated that the masks will be imported from China and will be handed out to citizens free of charge.
“In light of this crisis, this is the government’s contribution to all,” he said during a press conference on 23 March 2020. The decision to distribute the masks was made during a National Security Council (NSC) meeting held a day prior, and the prime minister had instructed the National Disaster Management Agency to fund this initiative with full support from the government.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin also addressed the ceiling prices of face masks sold by local vendors, which have caused concern on citizens. He had spoken to NSC members and defense minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri to discuss with the Domestic Trade and Consumerism (KPDNHEP) minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi to lower mask prices below RM 2 and ensure that it would not escalate further during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Hopefully, the factories can resolve the lack of raw material issue as well as ensuring that there will be enough stock and to sell the masks at a reasonable price as announced before,” he added. The prime minister also confirmed that exporting masks from Malaysia is currently banned, and believes that manufacturers should be able to produce more than enough masks for the nation if they continue to produce two to three million units a month.