Open Letter to the Prime Minister, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
10 Jan 2021
Pejabat Perdana Menteri
YAB Prime Minister,
We refer to the NSC daily press conference conducted by YB Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Bin Yaakob on 8-1-2021 regarding the special announcement by YAB PM that is scheduled for Monday, 11-1-2020 regarding government’s action in controlling the spread of Covid-19.
Allow us to bring the voice of the citizens, to express our worries and to put forward suggestions that we have collected for your attention to be considered by the government.
1. MOH ability to Handle Covid-19
The MOH's daily announcement described the strategy in our war against C19 as being fully borne by the MOH and it almost failed. It is reported that the country's health system is almost paralyzed. The fact is that this paralysis is caused by a weak strategy, less dynamic and more towards a reactive response to the problems that arise.
This war requires the involvement of all citizens, various government agencies, all state governments and political parties in the country. We therefore call on the government to take an open and inclusive attitude and include all stakeholders in the country regardless of political background as well as experts in the field of strategy and science. Citizens can help if the government displays the exact location of active cases on websites where they can control their movements on their own.
Supporting capacity to the MOH needs to be increased to ensure that more isolation centers are opened so that hospital use is optimized and the purchase of specialized equipment and medicines such as ventilators needs to be increased. The people's vaccination plan needs to be detailed to reduce the people's anxiety.
2. Economic Anxiety as a result of re-implementing MCO
The resumption of MCO will only burden the people. The poor are increasingly dying. The fact is that MCO aims to slow the spread of disease and increase the ability of the health system to fight disease. We are confident that the MOH and the government have complete information to determine what needs to be done in improving treatment capacity. So all that needs to be done is just to slow down the spread of the disease.
This means that MCO is not needed and movement control of the people will be more effective if all parties can see the position of active cases displayed on the map on the website. With open information like this all government agencies and NGOs can play a more effective role. A more inclusive strategy can be devised by all parties and controlling the spread in small areas without the need to do extensive MCO.
Action at this time must balance the economic impact on the country, the suffering of the people and also the congestion in the government health system. A specialist study from Sungai Buloh Hospital (A NATIONWIDE OBSERVATIONAL STUDY by Benedict Lim Heng Sim et al) reported that up to 92% of Covid-19 patients experience mild symptoms (which do not need to be hospitalized) and daily MOH statistics display at 8-1- 2021 shows that the death rate is only 0.4% (http://covid-19.moh.gov.my/terkini) of the total infected. Clearly here, although detailed death data is not publicized by the government, assistance should be targeted at the treatment stage to lower mortality rates. The need for additional equipment, medicines and specialists from the private sector and from abroad should be studied. The conclusion here is clear that MCO does not need to be done and if re-implemented, it will bring more serious misfortune to the people and the country.
3. Parents' concerns related to their children's schooling
As we all know, the rescheduling of the school calendar has a long-term effect on the children who will be the next generation of our country. The rescheduling of National Examinations such as SPM causes children to lose focus and stamina and have an impact on the next stage of learning.
A study of Covid-19 case data showed that disease transmission involving schools was almost zero. The MOH can confirm this matter. Therefore, there is no specific justification for closing schools nationwide to control the spread of disease. The display of active disease case maps on the website will allow parents and the school to play a role in the prevention and spread of the disease. What needs to be done is to increase preventive measures and involve all parties in disease control inclusively.
Obviously, if the density of school students should be reduced, it can be done through a combination of study at school and online for students who do not take the National examination. For grade 6 (UPSR), form 3 (PMR) and form 5 (SPM) students, school activities MUST be continued in the school and the school should be allowed to arrange disease control measures as issued by the MOH.
4. Impact on the National Economy
The impact on the country's economy and population can be felt today. The effects of financial stimulus are unpredictable and the impact on the people is quite alarming. We would like to suggest that the government stimulus method be reviewed in terms of deliveries. Clearly giving BSH does not help the people and purchasing power.
For the success of Malaysia as a multi-racial country, political cooperation should be extended to all parties, including Pakatan Harapan. Government needs to be restructured and eschew narrow political practices. Politics must be for the people and more inclusive and it can be done if there is an opening of the path from YAB Tan Sri.
On behalf of the people,
Lim Kit Siang, Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri
Dr. Mohamad Rafick Khan