Ministers’ Cluster joins White House Cluster to highlight the need for government leaders to be examples to inspire national unity and resolve to fight the war against Covid 19 pandemic and not the opposite

Malaysia has joined the United States with Covid-19 infections invading the top precincts of government – with our Ministers’ Cluster joining the White House Cluster to illustrate the hazards of high office.

In Malaysia, the Cabinet has been affected with one Minister confirmed as down with Covid-19 infection and five Ministers in quarantine including the Prime Minister himself undergoing a 14-day home quarantine as directed by Home Surveillance Order (HSO) issued by the Health Ministry.

In Washington, US President Donald Trump returned from the Walter Reed National Medical Military Centre to the White House, which has become a centre for contagion partly because of disregard for mitigation measures, to peel off his mask to convert his still-ongoing disease into a show of strength. However, despite his longstanding practice of denying the pandemic's severity and downplaying its risks, there are more than 200,000 Americans dead and 7.5 millions Americans infected as well as over a dozen of Trump’s top aides tested positive for Covid-19.

Although Trump is not the first government leader to be tested positive for Covid 19 – others include Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – what should be the lesson of Covid-19 infection in high government places.

Whether it is the Ministers’ Cluster or the White House Cluster, it should be the need for top government leaders to be examples to inspire national unity and resolve to fight the war against the coronavirus in the Covid 19 pandemic and not the opposite.

Despite our political differences, I pray that all Ministers and political leaders whatever their party affiliation and undergoing treatment or quarantine will be healthy and safe.

Malaysia is now facing the challenge of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic although we should be have been spared the onslaughts of its second wave as well as third wave.

There has been a spike in Covid-19 cases following Sabah’s 16th state general election on Sept 26 - reaching an all-time high since the outbreak first started in Malaysia early this year.

Yesterday, a whopping 432 new cases were reported, on Sunday (Oct 4) 293, Saturday (Oct 3) 317 and Friday (Oct 2) 287 bringing the cumulative total to 12,813 cases.

The current active caseload numbers 2,336 and the number of patients who require intensive care has increased to 32, up from eight last Monday.

The Untied States should have provided world leadership in the war against the coronavirus in the Covid-19 pandemic but it is quite a catastrophe, being the country with the most number of infections and deaths, registering a cumulative total of 7,679,644 cases and 215,032 fatalities.

Although we have done fairly well in bringing the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak under control, we are now facing a new challenging of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We are listed No. 31 in Asia among countries for cumulative total number of Covid-19 cases, but we should always be conscious that we should and could have done better than other Asian countries which have larger populations like Thailand, which is listed No. 37 and Vietnam which is listed No. 41.

In the United Nations today, the World Health Organisation has estimated that roughly one in 10 people may have been infected with the coronavirus, leaving the vast majority of the world's population vulnerable to the Covid-19 disease it causes.

This is a mind-boggling figure as it would mean that 780 million people are infected with Covid-19 as the world population is 7.8 billion - a far cry from the recorded Covid-19 estimate.

According the worldometer website, the current data for the cumulative total of Covid-19 infections worldwide stands at 35,701,674 with 1,045,953 fatalities, and the top five countries in terms of total cumulative Covid-19 infections (and fatalities)– very different from the Top Five in the early period of the pandemic – are as follows:

Country Total Cases Total Deaths
1. United States 7,679,644 215,032
2. India 6,685,082 103,600
3. Brazil 4,940,499 146,773
4. Russia 1,225,889 21,475
5. Colombia 862,158 26,844

The government must urgently restore public trust and confidence in the war against Covid-19 virus and government leaders must stop exhorting the people to comply with the Covid-19 SOP while they themselves are not prepared to comply.

As someone wrote today: “We would have failed in our national duty of patriotism if we let irresponsible leaders escape without being held accountable.”

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri