KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 ― DAP leader Lim Kit Siang reiterated today his earlier warning to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that vaccination alone will not help solve Malaysia’s Covid-19 problems.
The Iskandar Puteri MP compared Indonesia’s success in reducing its number of daily cases, saying the neighbouring nation, despite its larger population, has managed to reduce its infection rate much faster than Malaysia.
Southeast Asia’s third biggest economy has recorded an average rate of over 20,000 cases for more than four weeks now.
“Can the new health minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, explain why for 16 consecutive days, Indonesia has reduced its daily new Covid-19 cases to less than that of Malaysia ― to even less than half like yesterday’s 8,955 cases to Malaysia’s 20,988 cases?” Lim said.
“This is not fault-finding but to find ways to improve our handling of the Covid-19 pandemic so as to win the war against it,” the DAP leader added.
Malaysia is currently one of the worst-performing nations in the world in terms of its Covid-19 response this year, Lim noted.
The country’s new cases per a million people is now 572.43 compared to Indonesia’s 37.40, the Philippines’ 126.95 and Myanmar’s 61.27, according to figures from Our World in Data published September 1.
Malaysia also topped the region’s Covid-19 death rate, at 8.48 per million people. Vietnam came in second at 8.19 while Indonesia’s daily deaths per million people is 2.36, according to the same website.
“At the present pace of infection and death, we will break the 1.8 million-mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases today,” Lim said.
“We will break the two million-mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases and break the 20,000-mark for Covid-19 deaths when we celebrate our 58th Malaysia Day on September 16, 2021,” he added.
Malaysia could overtake two more countries, Iraq and Netherlands, to be ranked 21st among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, joining 20 other countries with over two million Covid-19 cases.
The government’s pandemic response has been severely criticised, as public health authorities continue to report five digit daily cases in the last two months.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who pledged that cases will stabilise by mid-August, is also facing mounting scrutiny over a slew of decisions that have not significantly reduced the number of cases, including favouring strict lockdowns.
He has refused to entertain calls to resign.
Lim said he had long called on the government to distance itself from its blind faith in “total lockdowns” and to open up businesses in keeping with “Live with Covid” instead of “Zero Covid” objective and to use targeted curbs instead.
“This is an infamy we must overcome as these are unimaginable numbers for Malaysia when the Covid-19 pandemic started 20 months ago,” Lim remarked.