Call on Muhyiddin to announce a May Day economic stimulus package for businesses, households and individuals with the extension of the MC0 to May 12, with emphasis to protect workers from being retrenched or having their salaries reduced

The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should announce a May Day economic stimulus package for businesses, households and individuals with the extension of the movement control order (MCO) to May 12, with the emphasis to protect the workers from being retrenched or having their salaries reduced by employers

The government must be concerned that announcements of closure of businesses, like major hotels in Penang, Ipoh and Malacca, are developing a momentum of their own.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast in January that the global economy would grow by 3.3 percent in 2020, however its latest outlook, in April, now forecasts a contraction of 3.0 percent, with no upside scenarios and numerous risks.

The government has yet to adopt a “whatever it takes” policy to help businesses and workers, particularly the self-employed, to face the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia has done fairly well in the invisible war to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but it has now to fight a twin-battle to prevent a resurgence of the Covid-19 outbreak and to win the battle to revive the devastated economy.

Despite our successes, we must acknowledge that we have weaknesses in the health-care system and have made serious mistakes, which we must not repeat.

One question which is haunting Malaysians is why the Muhyiddin government is behaving as if Malaysia is the worst nation in the Covid-19 pandemic in the world to warrant a one-day Parliament when Parliaments in the “worst” nations in the pandemic like UK, Italy, France, Spain and Germany are continuing to perform their important oversight and scrutiny duties?

Muhyiddin’s Cabinet should look at what is happening in the world in the Covid-19 pandemic as it is important that Malaysia should continue to learn from the success and mistakes of other nations.

When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, 2020, China was the top nation in both the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases, i.e. 80,907 cases or about one third of global total cases and the top nation in terms of total death toll of 8,925, with China recording 3,248 deaths and Italy a close second at 2,978 deaths.

Today, China has been excluded from both the Top Ten ranking for nations with the most number of Covid-19 cases and the most number of Covid-19 deaths.

The Top Ten countries with the most number of Covid-19 confirmed cases and that of China are:

  1. United States - 1,091,067
  2. Spain - 239,639
  3. Italy - 205,463
  4. UK - 171,253
  5. France - 167,178
  6. Germany - 162,530
  7. Turkey - 120,204
  8. Russia - 106,498
  9. Iran - 94,640
  10. Brazil - 85,380
  11. China - 82,862

Before the MCO, there were 218,910 Covid-19 cases in the world. This has increased 15 times to reach 3,298,631 cases.

When the MCO was imposed on March 18, there were three countries with four-digit death toll, namely China, Italy and Iran.

Today, there are 19 countries which recorded four-digit death toll of over 1,000 Covid-19 deaths, viz:

  1. United States - 63,657
  2. Italy - 27,967
  3. United Kingdom - 26,771
  4. Spain - 24,543
  5. France - 24,376
  6. Belgium - 7,594
  7. Germany - 6,572
  8. Iran - 6,028
  9. Brazil - 5,901
  10. Netherlands - 4,795
  11. China - 4,633
  12. Canada - 3180
  13. Turkey - 3,174
  14. Sweden - 2,586
  15. Switzerland - 1,737
  16. Mexico - 1,732
  17. Ireland 1,232
  18. India 1,154
  19. Peru 1,051

In the past six weeks, global death have increased more than 26 times from 8,925 deaths to 233,533 deaths.

When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, we were the top 18th country in the world in terms of number of cases, and top 33rd country in terms of Covid-19 deaths. We are now No. 58 in world ranking in terms of number of Covid-19 cases and No. 48 in terms of Covid-19 deaths.

Malaysia had done fairly well in bringing the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak under control, but we should not be complacent and must always be on the alert and adopt a flexible, creative and nimble strategy to prevent future Covid-19 waves and to rebuild the economy devastated by the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the French government presented its exit plan to the French Parliament for approval. In London on Wednesday, the House of Commons held its second “virtual” meeting including Question Time and the Prime Minister’s Question Time. The number of Ministers and MPs physically present in Parliament were less than a dozen, as the rest were in their homes or offices.

But in Malaysia, we have not even started making plans for a virtual Parliament.

Could the Prime Minister explain why?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri