KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — The Muhyiddin administration must formulate long-term measures to contain Covid-19 in Malaysia, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said after the government announced the return of the movement control order from Wednesday.
While acknowledging that the lockdown would provide some reprieve to Malaysia’s besieged medical frontliners, Anwar said a comprehensive plan of action was necessary to steer the country safely through the pandemic.
“As I have said before, the government must look into longer term and more effective measures to curb the pandemic such as mass testing with pooled testing, and more effective contact tracing than the MySejahtera application,” Anwar said in a statement.
“I also urge the government to be transparent with the data and help all parties to understand where the true hotspots are, specifically when it involves clusters of foreign workers.”
Among others, the PKR president noted that while the Health Ministry has said that it is studying pooled testing, it has yet to release any indication on how this would be achieved.
Other countries have already demonstrated that additional measures beyond lockdowns were the only effective means to control the spread of the disease, he said.
Anwar also said the government must ensure that no double standard would be applied in terms of enforcing the MCO, in apparent reference to government leaders who previously escaped punishment despite publicised breaches of standard operating procedures.
Warning that the MCO would necessarily cause financial hardship to businesses and Malaysians, Anwar said the government must immediately prepare at least RM500 million in assistance to sustain both over the two weeks of lockdown.
The Opposition leader also reminded the government that significant parts of the country were facing massive floods at the moment, which he said needed as much immediate attention as the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is the time for leadership and the government has to step up after months of slumber and allowing the current situation to manifest. The people need strong leadership. The people deserve strong leadership,” he said.
As expected, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced this evening that the economically-devastating MCO would return in five states and three federal territories due to Malaysia’s runaway Covid-19 infection rate.
The prime minister disclosed that the country’s health system was near “breaking point” and justified the renewed MCO as necessary to prevent spiralling Covid-19 infections from completely overwhelming Malaysia’s public hospitals.