As MCO’s phase two starts, Dzulkefly says Covid-19 fight no longer concerns just MOH, but all Malaysians

Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks to reporters during the Health Ministry’s daily press briefing in Putrajaya January 30, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks to reporters during the Health Ministry’s daily press briefing in Putrajaya January 30, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 31 — Datuk Seri Dzulkelfy Ahmad has called on all Malaysians to do their part to curb the spread of Covid-19 as the country kicks into its second phase of the movement control order (MCO) tomorrow.

The former health minister said the task is no longer just in the hands of the Ministry of Health (MOH), but the government should now focus on spreading awareness of the virus’ dangers and what the public can do to help.

“Moving into MCO phase two, we have to get serious about this. The second domain is the public health measures. In this part, it really needs to involve society at large.

“They must understand that they won’t be implored or begged to come [for testing] and they have to come forward willingly,” Dzulkefly said in an interview with Astro Awani’s Consider This talk show tonight.

He was asked about how the government’s handling of the pandemic could be better, following the change of government which also saw Dzulkefly lost his job as minister.

When asked about the difficulties faced by Putrajaya to get attendees of a tabligh event which was linked to the country’s second wave of infections, Dzulkefly said this was largely due to ignorance and their lack of symptoms, rather than a distrust of authorities.

He added that Malaysia is now seeing cases outside of the three major clusters, where most of the Covid-19 patients are coming from, which is worrisome.

“I don’t think those not stepping forward have an issue with trusting the authorities, I think it’s more an unwillingness and ignorance on the part of our people.

“They could be asymptomatic, but 80 per cent of us could be infected,” Dzulkefly warned.

“They won’t realise they are carriers, but they need to know. The sooner they find out and get treated the better. This is especially so for the vulnerable groups,”

“So if they do not want to step forward for whatever reasons not may be, then we need to enhance our efforts to provide further awareness of Covid-19’s dangers.

“That’s why not just the ministries, but the private sector, NGOs, GLCs and many others should all play their part in spreading awareness,” he added.

Dzulkefly’s short tenure was lauded as one of the best health ministers in recent times, and among the best-performing Cabinet member under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Now the head of Selangor government’s special Covid-19 task force, Dzulkefly said there has been some reluctance from Putrajaya to share information regarding the outbreak with the state government.

“We want the authorities to share the information they have with us, but we are not getting it,” Dzulkefly said.

“We’ve said it repeatedly that we do not want nor care about the patients private or personal details. All we want is data relating to the virus so we can to pertinent analytics. We can micro target areas all our testing and in that sense come up with more targeted results.

“That’s why I feel what we are in need of is actually a coordination committee that maybe Nadma (National Disaster Management Agency) or the special advisor to the prime minister Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood should head.

“That way we will be able to see better orchestration and coordination of information by all,” he added.

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