KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Veteran DAP politician Lim Kit Siang has raised doubts to whether Malaysia is truly ready to move to the endemic phase.
He claimed that without good data available it is difficult to know for sure if the country is ready to be reopened.
“From whatever data that we have to compare, it does look like the new cases have reduced by about 10 per cent.
“The deaths have not and the positive rates remain about the same. Basically the signals are mixed,” said Lim in a statement today.
The Iskandar Puteri MP also asked whether the country is really ready to ‘live’ with the Covid-19, as constantly urged by the government.
“I can see that the Government is planning to open up the country soon.
“They have repeatedly said that they want us to learn to live with the virus and that to have ‘zero Covid-19’ is an impossibility.
“But are we ready to open up and ‘live with the virus’? Have we provided adequate protection for the vulnerable?” he further questioned.
He added that while some ministers speak as if 70 per cent is a magic vaccination number which will allow the country to open up once the number is achieved, Lim reminded the government of Israel, Iceland and even Singapore as models to learn from.
“We are all for opening up, as the economy is badly damaged. But no point opening up carelessly and then needing to lock down again,” he said.
In the statement Lim also listed several questions which needed answers before the government makes its final decision to open up the country again.
Citing a medical expert, Lim said that the country has gone through a tough week in trying to keep track of Covid-19 statistics.
“This week has been tough to keep track of what the new sheriff in town is doing. It certainly looks like he is trying to revamp the whole reporting system of testing which affects the new case numbers and also the positivity rates.
“He is also ‘clearing’ the death backlog which accounts for the often erratic numbers that we see. And the fact that these numbers are reported on different days, makes things more confusing,” said Lim.
He also pointed out that there were three days in the week when the deaths were recorded at 487, dropped to 116 the next day, and then rose to 250 the following day.
“This is not the way of infectious disease fatality rates, unless some miracle happened?
“All the new sheriff did was to revamp the system, so that reporting is no longer consistent with the previous minister, and the data no longer comparable,” he said.
On September 23, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia is now in discussion with Singapore over the possibility of opening up the borders of the two countries in stages.
Among others, Saifuddin said one of the matters being raised was the likelihood of allowing daily commute between the two nations.
Saifuddin also reportedly said that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had also spoken to his counterpart in Singapore, Ong Ye Kung, on the matter, indicating that opening up the borders would benefit both countries.