Noor Hisham says Malaysia probably experiencing a “new wave” of Covid 19 cases – but is it a second wave or a third wave?

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday that Malaysia was probably experiencing a "new wave" as Covid-19 case numbers continued to climb.

He said at yesterday’s press conference: "If we look at the chart, we have an increase in cases lately. That probably is the beginning of a new wave."

New Covid-19 case numbers reported yesterday hit 260 – the highest registered number of new cases since June 4.

But is Malaysia facing a second wave or a third wave?

Irresponsible Perikatan Nasional (PN) Ministers have been claiming that there would have been more Covid-19 cases and deaths in Malaysia under a Pakatan Harapan Government.

Actually, the truth is the opposite.

Under the Pakatan Harapan Minister of Health, Dzulkefly Ahmad, before the infamous Sheraton Move on February 23, 2020 and before the second wave of Covid-19 attacked the country, Malaysia had a good and great record in fighting Covid-19.

Before the Sheraton Move, Malaysia had a cumulative total of 21 Covid-19 cases on Feb. 15 and no death and for eleven days from February 16 – 26, there was only one new case, bringing the cumulative total to 22 cases,

Malaysia’s Covid-19 record at the time (under Pakatan Harapan government) was among the best in ASEAN, even better than Thailand.

Thailand for instance had a cumulative total of 35 cases on Feb. 15 and an cumulative total of 40 cases on Feb. 26 – in both instances higher than Malaysia.

The second wave of Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia started under the Perikatan Nasional Government, with Malaysia overtaking Thailand on March 4, registering a cumulative total of 50 cases as compared to Thailand’s 43 case.

When the PN Cabinet was formed on March 7, there was a cumulative total of 93 cases, 10 daily case increase and no death as compared to Thailand’s cumulative total of 50 cases, two daily new infections and one death on the same day.

When the second wave of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia reached its peak on April 3, 2020 it registered a cumulative total of 3,333 cases and 53 deaths as compared to Thailand’s cumulative total of 1,978 Covid-19 cases and 19 Covid-19 deaths.

The gap has widened since then and with Malaysia currently registering a cumulative total of 11,484 cases and a total of 136 deaths as compared to Thailand’s 3,575 total cumulative cases and total of 59 deaths.

Under the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic under the Pakatan Harapan government, Malaysia had better Covid-19 statistics than Thailand, which had over twice Malaysia’s population.

But under the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, which happened under the Perikatan Nasional Government, the situation had been severely reversed and Malaysia has now a cumulative total of 11,484 cases and 136 deaths as compared to Thailand’s cumulative total of 3,575 cases and 59 deaths.

The Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali had admitted to The Malaysian Insight in an interview on 27th July 2020 that Malaysia was currently experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

He said: “What we have been undergoing since March until today is actually the second wave.”

He said Malaysia experienced a brief first wave at the end of January with the first batch of patients who had come from China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

He said the second wave started in March, the same month the government imposed the movement control order. The restrictions were successful in curbing the spread of the virus so that the government could “flatten the curve”, he said.

It is important that politicians in the Perikatan Nasional government should not undermine the professional excellence of the public service particularly in the case of the Director-General of Health, Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah – who has rightly been honoured by being conferred a Tan Sri for his outstanding leadership in the fight against the Covid-19.

If we compare with the United States and some other countries in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, we had done well – but going by the record of Dzulkefly as Health Minister and Pakatan Harapan Government, it is likely that the Pakatan Harapan would have done better than the Perikatan Nasional Government.

It is possible that with Dzulkefly and a Pakatan Harapan government, without the Sheraton Move, we would have a better record than Thailand in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as we have halve the population of Thailand if we had avoided a second wave brought about by a backdoor and illegitimate government.

As a result of the Sheraton Move and a backdoor government, while the world worries about a second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, we are worrying about a third wave!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri