Prime Minister should convene a Special Parliament immediately to authorise the convening of a National Conference on “all-of-Government” and “whole-of-society” Strategy and Approach under the auspices of Parliament in the war against Covid-19 pandemic
The proclamation of emergency last Tuesday is no bar for the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to convene a Special Parliament immediately to authorise the convening of a National Conference on an “all-of-government” and “whole-of- society” strategy and approach under the auspices of Parliament in the war against Covid-19 pandemic.
This has become imperative following the new grim record in daily increase of new Covid-19 infections breaking the 4,000-mark yesterday, reaching 4,029 cases and eight fatalities to bring the cumulative total to 155,095 Covid-19 cases and 594 fatalities.
If the 4,000 four-digit figure is the average of the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases, then we will be set to break the 200,000 mark for total cumulative cases in the fourth week of January 2021, and the Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Malaysia scheduled to start in February would not be able to play any role to decide whether Malaysia is set to overtake Philippines in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases and become the second nation in Asean after Indonesia with the worse record on Covid-19 pandemic or whether we join the top 30-40 nations in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
We are ranked No. 27 among countries with the highest daily increase of new Covid-19 cases. Among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, we now rank No. 63 – making a double jump from yesterday when we were ranked No. 65. If we have an increase of another 4,000 new Covid-19 today, we will likely be making another double jump to be ranked No. 61 among countries in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
If we average 4,000 daily increase of Covid-19 infections, we will burst into the bracket of the top 57-58 countries in the world by the end of MCO.2 on 26th January 2021, and Malaysia overtaking Philippines to be among the top 30-40 countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 is a target within reach.
But is this target in the Covid-19 pandemic we want to achieve?
The purpose of the a National Conference on an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach under the auspices of Parliament in the war against Covid-19 pandemic is to ensure that the trajectory of unprecedented four-digit surge in Covid-19 cases is broken to return to double or single digit daily increase and that we never overtake the Philippines or be among the top 30-40 nations in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
The fact that when movement control order (MCO) was first imposed on March 18, 2020, we had 790 Covid-19 cases and two deaths while today we have 155,095 cases and 594 fatalities shows that the national strategy in the Covid-19 pandemic used so far has failed and must be reviewed and overhauled.
Without malice or finger-pointing, let us own up to the fact that despite calls for an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach to the war against the Covid-19 epidemic, these calls have fallen on deaf fears for the past year.
It would appear that the Executive is inherently incapable of formulating let alone implementing an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are not learning from the best lessons and the worst mistakes of other nations.
This was why after the MCO.2 announcement and the Proclamation of Emergency, the Malaysian Medical Association President, Dr. Subramaniam Muniandy issued a statement expressing the forlorn hope that “the government should instead to go back to the drawing board and, once and for all, for the sake of our beloved country and the rakyat, truly implement a ‘whole-of-society’ and ‘whole-of-government’ approach”.
The Executive has failed to save Malaysia from the Covid-19 epidemic and in fact, it has brought Malaysia to a critical crisis in the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is why there must be an immediate Special Parliament to save Malaysia from the Covid-19 pandemic where all political parties and MPs can sink their differences during the pandemic to the cause of winning the war against Covid-19 by convening a National Conference on an “all-of-government” and “whole-of- society” strategy and approach under the auspices of Parliament to devise a new strategy for winning the war against the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
Let all politicians end the “cloak-and-dagger” politics and let all political parties meet and reach a new national consensus that the country’s biggest threat is the Covid-19 pandemic and that there would be no 15th General Election until this threat is overcome.
The first task is to break the trajectory of the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases and ensure that Malaysia does not overtake Philippines and do not belong to the top 30-40 countries in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
But there is no reason to panic.
While acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic situation is bad, we are not in the league of nations where the pandemic has become a catastrophe like the United States where my prediction on Dec. 30 last year that the US Inauguration Day on January 2021 for the new US President Joe Biden, America “would probably have 25 million Covid-19 cases and the world close to 100 million cases” is not far off the mark.
Globally, the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases have almost reached the 95 million-mark, increasing by three-quarter million Covid-19 cases daily, with over two million fatalities.
The United States of America has at present 24.3 million cases, increasing by a quarter million cases daily, with over 400,000 fatalities. India, the second country with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, has over 10.5 million cases and 152,311 fatalities.
Brazil, Russia and UK are the three countries which have exceeded the three million Covid-19 mark with over 209,000, 65,000 and 88,000 fatalities respectively.
Five countries – France, Turkey, Italy, Spain and Germany – have more than two million cumulative Covid-19 cases, while eight countries have more than a million cumulative Covid-19 cases.
Malaysia should set an objective not to join the present group of 18 countries which have each cumulatively more than a million Covid-19 cases.
We should not be having 155,095 cases and 594 fatalities. We should be like Thailand (No. 128 with 11,680 Covid-19 cases and 70 fatalities) or Vietnam (No. 173 with 1,537 Covid-19 cases and 35 fatalities); or Cambodia (No. 192 with 436 Covid-19 cases and zero fatalities).