KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The government should establish a panel of medical doctors and leading medical practitioners in the country to review its efforts in curbing the spread of Covid-19, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former general practitioner also said he hopes the Perikatan Nasional administration under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would give more weight to the doctors’ opinions, as they are experts in their fields.

“The panel can review what is being done and what is to be done by the government in its fight to prevent Covid-19 from worsening,” Dr Mahathir said during a virtual interview with Astro Awani.

The Langkawi MP congratulated Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on his successes in handling the pandemic, but added that one person alone “‘is not enough”.

“The ideas of others should also be considered, hence why a panel of doctors would be a sound idea,” Dr Mahathir said.

He also criticised Putrajaya for its lackadaisical approach in handling issues aside from Covid-19, such as social problems and the economy.

“Many are unemployed, without enough financial resources or even the ability to afford food. All of this must rightfully be handled by the government.

“But I feel there is no focus on these social and economic problems. The recent shutdown of the Toyota manufacturing factory saddened me, since they had to do so as workers are affected to the extent they cannot come into work,” Dr Mahthir said.

The 95-year old ex-prime minister was referring to the decision on Friday by the Japanese automobile conglomerate and its rival Honda Motor to temporarily halt operations in two of its plants in the country, following the start of the movement control order in several states last week.

“This will have a bad effect on the economy. Foreign investors will not want to come here but instead now go to Indonesia. There they can work while we forbid them from doing so here.

“I am not saying it is wrong to stop others from going to work due to Covid-19 safety precautions. But there must be a way to ensure one can work while determining infections will not occur so easily,” he said.

Yesterday, Malaysia’s new daily Covid-19 cases broke the 4,000-case mark as the pandemic continues to worsen in the current wave.