PETALING JAYA: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang (pix) has urged the government to also concentrate its efforts to save people’s jobs and livelihood, as the number of Covid-19 cases in the nation sees a steady rise.
He said the world is faced with an “unprecedented situation” where the normal rules no longer apply as described by United Nations Secretary General and, he also agreed with economist Muhammed Abdul Khalid that the government should not be stingy in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis as the two economic stimulus packages announced this far is not sufficient to face the new mitigation war against Covid-19.
Kit Siang added there is no point for Malaysia to want positive economic growth, a good fiscal position, if the people are dead and the country in chaos.
“The country’s priority now is to ensure that Malaysians stay alive. This is not the time to think about the fiscal deficit, national debt, economic growth rate, credit rating agencies’ perceptions or politicking,“ he pointed out.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said this is especially necessary as there is a possibility the Movement Control Order (MCO) will be extended.
Kit Siang quoted epidemiologist Datuk Dr. Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, who had said that Malaysia needs to have the Movement Control Order (MCO) for at least six consecutive weeks to bring down the Covid-19 infections to a manageable level.
He also quoted Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, saying that Malaysia should have been moving towards the fourth phase for Covid-19 which is mitigation, but it lost the war against Covid-19 in the containment phase as the health authorities were not aware that a tabligh convention involving some 14,000 people was held at the Sri Petaling mosque from Feb 27–March 1 until Brunei confirmed its first Covid-19 case attended the event.
“Noor Hisham said the authorities began tracing and screening the attendees only after that case was confirmed and the health authorities have managed to trace over 11,000 participants out of 14,500 local participants, with sampling done on 6,700 participants,“ said Kit Siang.
He added that so far there have been two waves of the Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, the first wave from Jan 25 to Feb 16, when a total of 22 cases and no deaths were identified. Then things started getting out of hand when the second wave started on Feb 28, reaching the current stage with three-digit increases in Covid-19 cases for eight consecutive days.
“During the final crucial five days from Feb 16 to Feb 27 where no cases were reported, Malaysia’s attention on the Covid-19 pandemic was distracted by the ‘Sheraton Move’ to topple the Pakatan Harapan Government leaving Malaysia with no government. This showed on Feb 28 as the height of irresponsibility to create a political crisis in Malaysia in the midst of a global Covid crisis.
“This is not time for any fault-finding, but we must learn from the mistakes of the past to understand why we had lost the “containment” war against Covid-19 and what we must do to win the mitigation war against Covid-19 by uniting all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics or socio-economic background in a united, collective effort in the war against Covid-19,“ he said in a statement today.
Kit Siang also stated that the government must give top priority to ensure that any form of aid to the health and medical sectors must be made without limits instead of seeing government healthworkers turning garbage bags into protective suits because of shortage of supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“An order should go out to immediately increase the production of medical supplies and equipment that hospitals, health systems, physicians, nurses and all front line providers so desperately need,“ he said.