TOKYO: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was today awarded the Honorary Doctorate in Medicine by Nihon University, one of the most distinguished and oldest private universities in Japan.
The honorary degree was in appreciation of Ismail Sabri's efforts and contributions in the fight against Covid-19.
Ismail Sabri received the honorary doctorate from Nihon University president Dr Naoto Kato at the university in Itabashi, one of the cities in the metropolis of Tokyo during his six-day official working visit to Japan.
Expressing his appreciation for the honorary degree, the Prime Minister said it was not only for him but for the entire Malaysian Family who had been standing in solidarity with the government in facing the pandemic.
"Indeed, the award is a great recognition not only for me but for the entire Malaysian Family who have proven our ability to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in our own way," he said.
Ismail Sabri said when the pandemic was declared in early 2020, he was entrusted, as the then Senior Minister and Minister of Defence, with the responsibility to lead the Security Cluster and chair every special meeting of ministers in the fight against Covid-19.
From then on, he said all the country's strengths and assets were mobilised together with government agencies, including health and security forces, as the frontliners, in an integrated effort to combat the threats of the pandemic.
"The war against Covid-19 is a big and challenging one," he said.
Sharing Malaysia's experience in fighting the pandemic, Ismail Sabri said all factors that could lead to the spread of Covid-19 had been identified and promptly tackled.
He said the government had to act sternly at the early stage by imposing the Movement Control Order (MCO) where the people were not allowed to leave their homes except for important or urgent matters.
"We are fighting an invisible enemy which is all around us. Every war must be won and the lives of the people of the Malaysian Family must be saved," he said.
Ismail Sabri said Malaysia was close to winning the war and it was proven by the reopening of its international borders on April 1 and the relaxation of most of its standard operating procedures for Covid-19 from May 1, including the abolishment of physical distancing and the wearing of face mask only in indoor settings, which also allowed all economic sectors to be fully reopened.
"This is the result of an effective health strategy and the implementation of MCO, and the full support from the people also enabled us to flatten the infection curve," he said.
The Prime Minister said Malaysia was also recognised by several international agencies such as Bloomberg and Nikkei, as among the top five nations in the world to have succeeded in controlling the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Kato in his citation acknowledged that Ismail Sabri had played a central role in response to the pandemic and had given top priority to people's life and health.
This has significantly contributed to the building of trust in international medical collaboration and improvement of technology in remote diagnosis and treatment as well as functional recovery training, he said.
"Such achievements were highly regarded by the people of Malaysia," said Kato, adding that consequently Ismail Sabri had been inaugurated as the ninth prime minister of Malaysia. -- Bernama