Muhyiddin should have a live telecast sharing details of the exit plan when MCO is lifted in phased stages

The world has to accept the unfortunate reality that it has to learn to live with the Covid-19 coronavirus in the next 12 – 24 months until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available, as no country can survive an economic lockdown for a year let alone two.

The world must live through a phased lifting of the various forms of lockdowns imposed in the various countries in the next 12 – 24 months to allow for a resumption of economic activities, but nations must be flexible and nimble enough to reimpose a partial or full lockdown if there is a Covid-19 resurgence threatening mass deaths.

In the past 24 hours, the Covid-19 pandemic killed over 6,800 people in the world, and the 12 countries with four-digit and three-digit fatalities are:

  • Untied States – 2,109 deaths
  • United Kingdom - 861 deaths
  • France - 753 deaths
  • Italy - 525 deaths
  • Spain - 503 deaths
  • Belgium - 417 deaths
  • Germany - 248 deaths
  • Canada - 181 deaths
  • Netherlands - 181 deaths
  • Brazil - 167 deaths
  • Sweden - 130 deaths
  • Turkey - 125 deaths

The total global death toll now stands at 145,359. Five countries with five-digit number of deaths of over 10,000 are United States (34,552), Italy (22,170), Spain (19,315), France (17,926) and United Kingdom (13,729).

Ten countries which have totalled over 1,000 deaths are Iran (4,869), Belgium (4,857), Germany (4,052), China (3,342), Netherlands (3,315), Brazil (1,924), Turkey (1,643), Sweden (1,333), Switzerland (1,281) and Canada (1,191).

I have repeatedly stressed that the era in post-Covid-19 pandemic is unchartered territory which has not been traversed by humanity before, that we must strike out into in the unknown future on our own, while learning from the success and failure of other countries.

This is not the time for fault-finding but we must not repeat the mistakes of the United Kingdom and the United States, now the two worst states as far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned, although they have more than three months to ward off the worst of the Covid-19 catastrophe.

Let us not be like the United Kingdom where a leading UK newspaper reported in blazing headlines “UK government has no exit plan for Covid-19 lockdown, say sources”.

We do not want to have a situation as in the United Kingdom where different Ministers are working out their own exit plans, in the absence of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who is recovering from Covid-19 after three days in intensive care unit (ICU).

United Kingdom’s approach has been compared to unfavourably with that of many European countries including Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland, which have announced how they will come out of the lockdown.

What can we learn from South Korea? At the end of February, it has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of Covid-19 cases outside China. But without any lockdown, Covid-19 was brought under control with a programme of mass testing and meticulous contact tracing. It practised full transparency.

Today, it has 10,613 cases and 229 deaths, earning plaudits from around the globe.

Two days ago, it held the world’s first national elections in the coronavirus era, and more than 29 million people – 66% of the electorate and the highest turnout in nearly three decades – came out to cast their votes.

South Korea has become a model for how a democratic society can weather the storm of a pandemic as nobody felt that they had to choose between exercising their democratic rights and protecting their health.

With signs of the curve flattening, it is essential that the government should start preparing for the best exit strategy from the MCO.

Has there been extensive discussion and consultation with the civil society and with various sectors of the economy on the best exit strategy for Malaysia?

Various State Assemblies in Malaysia have met. Why is Parliament being emasculated and marginalized?

Parliament should meet, not just to comply with the requirement that it should meet once every six months, but to specifically address the Covid-19 pandemic and the twin public health and economic crisis it has created for Malaysians or the Malaysian Parliament would be seriously remiss in its responsibilities to the country.

In fact, special Parliament on the Covid-19 pandemic should be an important plank of the exit strategy to phase out the MCO restrictions in Malaysia.

I call on the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to have a live telecast to share with Malaysians the government’s exit plan when the movement controlled order (MCO) is lifted in phases.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri