Malaysia had been dismal failures under the Perikatan Nasional Government in 2020 on all five main priorities in its post-Covid 19 strategy for 2021

In his live New Year message, the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin listed five priorities for the year 2021 in an integrated national recovery strategy post Covid-19.

These five priorities do not bear scrutiny for they had been dismal failures of the Perikatan Nasional Government in 2020.

Let us examine the five priorities:

First Priority – Improve public health through the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines with the launch of a nationwide vaccination programme.

Singapore, which started its Covid-19 vaccination campaign on Dec. 30, is estimated to have enough vaccines for its around 5.5 million-strong population by the third quarter of 2021.

Indonesia, which is the first in the region to receive a vaccine shipment from China and has announced multiple agreements to receive potential vaccines, seeks to vaccinate 181.5 million people. It plans to vaccinate 16 million people a month.

Malaysia expects to receive the first batch of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. Beginning or end? Quantity of vaccines? Are there any plan to vaccinate Malaysia’s population? When will this target be achieved? Malaysians are entitled to know the details!

Vaccine is not a panacea for Covid-19, and as the experience in the United States has shown, efficient mass distribution of vaccine can present nightmarish problems.

United States President-Elect Joe Biden had warned that its going to take “years, not months” to vaccinate the nation under the Trump vaccination distribution plan, and said he would “move heaven and earth” to ramp up vaccination efforts, with the goal of administering 100 million inoculations within his first 100 days in office.

The vaccine distribution crisis in the United States has prompted the New York Times to publish an editorial entitled “We Came All This Way to Let Vaccines Go Bad in the Freezer?” on how America did not sufficiently plan for how to get millions of people vaccinated.

Second Priority – Strengthen the people’s economy and drive the country’s economic growth post Covid-19 through the implementation of the 2021 Budget and the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

That the Perikatan Nasional government has morphed into a kakistocracy is best illustrated by the fact that the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, meant for the five years from 2021-2015, will only be presented to Parliament in April this year, after one quarter of 2021 had elapsed.

As for the 2021 Budget, the Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has still to give a cogent response to the call by the former Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, that an additional RM45 billion economic stimulus package is urgently needed to save jobs following the unexpected rise in the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent and the contraction of the industrial production index (IPI) by 0.5 percent in October 2020.

Third Priority - Ensure political stability with strong emphasis on good governance as a foundation for sustainable economic recovery.

There is neither political stability nor good governance. The backdoor and illegitimate Perikatan Nasional government created by the Sheraton Move conspiracy is the most unstable government in the history of Malaysia – riven not only by fractious dissension in the ruling coalition but fearful of a chimerical majority in Parliament.

It is so fragile and unstable that the Prime Minister dare not replace the Health Minister who had incapacitated himself in the Covid-19 pandemic with a series of fiascos like “warm water cure for Covid-19”, “500 countries” and “15 states in Malaysia” gaffes, causing Malaysia to operate without an effective hands-on Health Minister during the pandemic.

“Good governance” is a joke unless the Prime Minister is prepared to replace its numerous politician-led government-linked companies (GLCS) and agencies with professionals to ensure that they operate professionalyl and with integrity.

All, including the Prime Minister and the Ministers, are dreading the release of the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 later this month – as it will be the latest global report card on the “good governance” of the Perikatan Nasional Government.

Furth Priority – Uphold the country’s sovereignty and strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage.

The latest report of Malaysia’s diminishing place on the world stage is that Vietnam would surpass Malaysia to become the 4th largest economy in Southeast Asia.

Although Malaysia achieved the best 2019 TI CPI performance in 25 years, with a single-year improvement of six points for TI CPI score of 53 and 10 placings for TI CPI ranking of 51, nobody expects any improvement in the TI CPi 2020.

In the second Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking released on Dec. 21 last year, Malaysia lost out to New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand and Bangladesh. So much for strengthening “Malaysia’s position on the world stage”.

The monthly Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking provides a snapshot of the best and worst places to be in the Covid-19 era.

Malaysia has beaten China in having more cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – China is ranked No. 82 in the world with cumulative total of 87,093 Covid-19 cases while Malaysia have jumped two steps to rank No. 72 with 115,078 Covid-19 cases.

At one time, Malaysia was some 50 positions behind China, the country where the pandemic first started and which had 40 times the population of Malaysia.

Is this the way to “strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage”?

Fifth Priority – Strengthen ties between races and religions in shaping a united community against any threat.

Malaysia had never been more polarised between the races and religions because of the long-standing campaign of lies, falsehoods and fake news by the government parties.

There are no signs in the ten months of Perikatan Nasional government that stern action would be taken against such a diabolical misinformation campaign to polarise the races and religions in Malaysia.

Has the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin become “Malaysian first, Malay second” since his declaration that he was “Malay first, Malaysian second” a decade ago?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri