A plea to the government on the Covid-19 battle — Angeline Lim

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JUNE 30 — Dear YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,

There are many matters I would like to raise, but let me stay focused on the most important and urgent one, namely the Covid-19 pandemic.

Never in the history of Malaysia has there been so much suffering among the rakyat in health and economic terms. I am dismayed that 18 months into the pandemic, the country is on the brink of a catastrophe and still struggling to rein in the numbers.

Our healthcare sector has burst the seams and courageous medical frontliners are near collapse. Businesses have fallen like tenpins, and more continue to fold daily. Many are pushed beyond the brink and suicides are spiking.

YAB, your Cabinet has had a go at managing this pandemic but unfortunately, there has been little success to show for it. Yet the strategies remain the same.

We have had different permutations of MCOs. Most recently, the lockdown has been termed “Phase One of the National Recovery Plan”, even though neither “recovery” nor “plan” are evident to us, the man in the street.

Sir, I would like to respectfully suggest that to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is futile.

I urge those heading Covid-19 initiatives to forget protocol and politics, and step aside to allow Malaysia’s brightest and best professionals to step up and take the nation forward.

Form a Special Covid-19 Management Committee that includes capable, reputable professionals that we the rakyat trust and have faith in.

There has been an outpouring of views from all quarters of society, including professional bodies, medical associations and chambers of commerce, offering excellent proposals to manage the pandemic. Please hear the voices of reason, and join forces with them in this battle.

In addition, it is high time to review strategies and abandon those that have no basis.

A general view of Kuala Lumpur as the 14-day ‘total lockdown’ commenced June 1, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A general view of Kuala Lumpur as the 14-day ‘total lockdown’ commenced June 1, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Just as an example, time and travel restrictions during MCO make no sense. Limiting travel to 10 kilometres does not in any way prevent transmission of the virus. It is strict observance of SOPs that is most critical.

SOPs also need to be revised constantly to keep up with science. We know now that many positive cases are asymptomatic — let us discard temperature checks and focus instead on effective masking and social distancing.

We also know that the virus is airborne; regulations need to be put in place for proper ventilation in enclosed areas.

Regarding vaccinations, we have not seen any significant efforts to educate and persuade the hundreds of thousands who did not show up for their appointments.

As for the Recovery Plan, less testing will obviously give fewer positives — so the criteria of 4,000 positive cases for advancing to Phase Two is meaningless unless taken collectively with infectivity and death rates.

YAB, Malaysia can do better. Indeed, the rakyat deserve better. I am aware you have many other matters requiring your attention, but please stay laser-focused on the Covid-19 battle. There can surely be nothing more important and urgent than saving the lives and livelihoods of millions of Malaysians.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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