National priorities in the Covid-19 Pandemic must ensure that there is no carte blanche for rampant corruption, revival of kleptocracy, violation of human rights and the death of democracy
Tomorrow, the Covid-19 pandemic would register four million confirmed cases with a global toll over 275,000 deaths.
In the next two years until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available, we must learn to live with the coronavirus with new norms, with social distancing and personal hygiene as the main features.
We must be clear that our national priorities in the Covid-19 pandemic must ensure that there is no carte blanche for rampant corruption, revival of kleptocracy, violation of human rights and the death of democracy.
Malaysia’s new norms cannot violate the two fundamental principles in the Malaysian Constitution – the doctrine of the separation of powers and the rule of law.
This is why Parliament and the administration of justice should be declared “essential services” in any pandemic or we will not be true and loyal to the Malaysian Constitution.
South Korea stood out as a refreshing example. It experienced its first case of Covid-19 the same day as the United States on 20th January. In February, South Korea became the country with the second-highest Covid-19 infections after China.
Since then, South Korea has set the gold standard to flatten the curve and provide timely medical care to the infected. South Korea’s transparency and a government which is open and could secure the trust of the people were among the factors for the country’s success.
In contrast, the United States has become a major epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, registering nearly 1.3 million cases and 77,000 deaths as against South Korea’s 10,910 cases and 256 deaths.
South Korea even became the first country to hold nation-wide election amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malaysia must look to South Korea and not to the United States as an example where we can successfully contain the corona virus outbreak, safeguard the parliamentary system entrenched in the Malaysian Constitution and revive the economy devastated by the pandemic.
This is why there should be a full session of Parliament and not just a ridiculous one-day Parliament on May 18.