Why is the Muhyiddin government continuing to undermine public confidence and trust which detract from efforts to unite all Malaysians in an all-out-war against the Covid-19 pandemic?

When I wrote in my media statement on March 20, 2020, that “Global news about the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be bleak and ominous”, nobody had expected that after more than six months, global news about the Covid-19 pandemic would be many times more bleak and ominous.

At that time, Italy reached a new milestone when its deaths linked to the virus soared to 3,405, exceeding the toll of 3,248 deaths in China, where the virus first broke out.

The spread of Covid-19 in Italy had been swift and terrifying, even after the country imposed strict limits on people’s movements. As the death toll rose, traditional funeral services were outlawed as part of the national restrictions against gatherings.

On March 20, Italy tallied 902 deaths in the previous two days alone – at that time an unimaginable figure. Italy had at the time a cumulative total of 41,035 coronavirus cases, while China had 80,996 cases and the world cumulative total of Covid-19 cases stood at 234,130.

More than six months later, these figures are nothing compared to the astronomical numbers both in cases and deaths which are being chalked up by some countries.

The global cumulative total of Covid-19 infection now exceed 35 million cases – or more than 150 times the global cumulative total of Covid-19 infections on March 20 – and the global total fatalities stand at 1,041,823 or more than 114 times the global fatalities on March 20, which recorded 9,112 deaths.

In the United States, Covid 19 pandemic infections have recorded over 7.6 million cases and claimed more than 214,000 lives, with daily increase of over 43,000 Covid 19 infections and 739 deaths going by the past week’s average.

These are awesome numbers. How many Covid-19 infections and fatalities will be recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic becomes history?

Although Malaysia has done comparatively well in the international arena in the invisible war against Covid-19, having receded from top 18th country in the world to No.96 in terms of having the most number of Covid-19 confirmed cases and the ranking of No. 33 to No. 101 in terms Covid-19 deaths, we must not take things for granted.

It is most ironic that the three world leaders who mocked the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic are leading the three countries which top the world in the number of daily Covid-19 confirmed deaths, viz President Donald Trump’s United States which is the top No. 1 country with 7.64 million cases and 214,611 fatalities, and he himself and his wife, and several top aides, were just tested positive for Covid-19 presenting the United States with an unprecedented constitutional crisis; President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil with over 4.9 million Covid-19 cases and over 146,000 fatalities; and President Lopex Obrador’s Mexico with over 761,000 cases and a death toll of over 79,000 fatalities.

We must however never lose sight of the fact that Malaysia should and could have done better, as there is no reason why we should lag behind Thailand, which has now a cumulative total of 3,590 cases and 59 fatalities, as compared to Malaysia’s cumulative total of 12,381 cases and 127 fatalities – as Thailand as double Malaysia’s population.

This is why Malaysians must ask the Muhyiddin government why it is continuing to undermine public confidence and trust which detract from efforts to unite all Malaysians in an all-out-war against the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasshin chaired a special National Security Council meeting on Covid 19 on Saturday, but conspicuously missing was the Penang Chief Minister and the Mentri Besars of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

I asked the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow why he did not attend, and he said he was not invited to the special NSC Meeting on Covid 19 last Saturday.

I can still remember the furore and the Chief Secretary to the Government, Zuki Ali, apologising for the exclusion of Pakatan Harapan State leaders from the first special meeting chaired by Muhyiddin after he became the Prime Minister.

Why has the Perikatan Nasional Government decided to play politics again, instead of showing an example of uniting all Malaysians regardless party politics in the face of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The outstanding issue for Malaysians remains the mystery as to why a straightforward case like the non-compliance with the Covid-19 quarantine SOP by the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister should take such an unbelievable length of time, made worse by the police seemingly playing the same record over and over again that the case is undergoing thorough investigation.

I call on the Prime Minister to impress on the Cabinet on Wednesday the importance of restoring public trust and confidence in the war against the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia. Will he and can he do so?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri