JANUARY 8 — Is anyone surprised by the deafening silence of the government parties, in particular the trio of Bersatu, Umno and PAS to the proposal of an all-party conference to save Malaysia from the two great problems of 2021 — the Covid-19 pandemic and corruption?
I am not surprised, for it is precisely because the Perikatan Nasional coalition government had failed in these two areas in 2020 that Malaysia is facing a crisis of losing control of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, registering yesterday a record-high daily increase of 3,027 new Covid-19 cases with eight deaths, bringing the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases to 128,465 and Covid-19 fatalities to 521.
On December. 30, I had forecasted that at the rate of Malaysia’s daily increase of Covid-19 cases, we were likely to overtake Myanmar with a greater cumulative total of Covid-19 cases in three weeks’ time, i.e. by 19th January 2021.
But was I very wrong, even yesterday, as Malaysia will overtake Myanmar some time today (8th January) for the 69th ranking among the countries in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases — the third country in Asean after Indonesia (ranked No. 20 with 797,723 cases) and the Philippines (ranked No. 30 with 482,083) in Asean with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
I had thought Malaysia would overtake Myanmar by 19th January in 21 days, but we overtook Myanmar earlier by 11 days.
Will we overtake Philippines which is at present ranked No. 30 among the countries in the world with most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, and if so, when will this be achieved?
It is a terrible thought that the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia would rage on to the extent that Malaysia will overtake the Philippines in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, becoming the second country after Indonesia in Asean with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
This is why I had proposed an all-party conference to save Malaysia from this disastrous development, especially as Philippines has three-and-a-half times the population of Malaysia.
I do not expect objections from the Opposition parties, whether DAP, PKR, Amanah, Warisan or the yet-to-be registered Pejuang and Muda to attend such an all-party conference to save Malaysia from the Covid-19 pandemic and corruption, just as I had expected dead silence and even objection if asked from Bersatu, Umno, PAS and the other political parties in the governing PN coalition government.
In this connection, I fully endorse the statement by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the RoS decision to deny registration of Pejuang and Muda is completely unacceptable and that the office of the RoS is not a political tool for the government to use and manipulate to suit their agenda.
Why is the PN government in such mortal fear of a budak and an old man?
There is now considerable power-play in the “three-kingdom” relationship among Bersatu, Umno and PAS in the ruling coalition, but this is all about the survival of the respective political parties and not the interests of the nation.
Bersatu for instance does not want to be crushed in the forthcoming 15th General Election while Umno believes that it would be able to win sufficient parliamentary seats to return to power in Putrajaya as the leading political party in a government coalition.
PAS, for its part, expects to get more political space to contest in parliamentary and state assembly seats if it teams up with Bersatu, if it had to choose between partnership with Umno or Bersatu in the 15GE.
But they are not bothered about national interests but only the interests of their respective political parties — which is why they are not prepared to take a stand against corruption, which has become the handmaidens in their survival or advancement in the “three-kingdom” power struggle in the government coalition.
When Trump’s mob assaulted Capitol Hill in Washington in support of his unconstitutional efforts to overturn the US presidential election, I thought of Malaysia’s Trump and the question Dr Mohamad Raick Khan posed in one of his blogs:
“How does one explain when people with positions that have been convicted with corruption charges are enjoying a cult following and now being treated like a celebrity that is our last salvation to save the country?”.
Yesterday, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for Japan’s capital and surrounding areas until February 2 as Covid-19 cases surge to the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
Suga said the government will provide up to ¥1.8 million (US$17,400) per month to each restaurant that complies with a request to shorten its operating hours.
Are we learning the best lessons and avoiding the worst mistakes of other countries in the Covid-19 pandemic?
*Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur, January 8, 2021.
**This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.