The first month of 2021 has torn Muhyiddin’s New Year Message into smithereens and turned his five priorities for an integrated Covid recovery into dud promises
The first month of the year 2021 has torn the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s New Year Message into smithereens and turned his five priorities for an integrated Covid recovery into dud promises.
His first priority to “improve public health through the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines with the launch of a nationwide vaccination programme” had been pulverised by two events:
- the record daily increase of 5,725 Covid-19 cases, smashing the 200,000-mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 infections, placing Malaysia as No. 55 among countries in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – an ignominious jump of 30 places as we were rank No. 85 on Nov.18, 2020; and
- another month’s delay in the nation-wide vaccination programme although more than 87 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in 60 countries had been administered.
The record-high daily increase of 5,725 cases yesterday bringing the cumulative total to 203,933 cases and 733 fatalities in Malaysia not only smashes the 200,000-mark, but smashes Muhyiddin’s MCO2.0 from January 13-26, 2021 - proving it to be an improper prescription to bring the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic under control, as the daily average of increase of Covid-19 cases in the first 12 days of the was only 2,376 cases.
We are the only country in Asia, excluding Indonesia, which is facing a long and critical upsurge of Covid-19 pandemic exceeding four months.
Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub has urged the government to go back to the drawing board and to form a bipartisan committee to find new ways to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has predicted a continuous rise of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, hitting over 20,000 daily infections from March 3.
There must be no more delay in launching an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, to put country on a war footing to save lives and livelihoods and enable Malaysians to live with the coronavirus where every Malaysian, regardless of race, religion, politics or region spend every available moment to consider how the country can win the war against the coronavirus and not break the SOP or invite others to break the SOP.
Muhyiddin’s second priority to “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)” has been defeated by the suspension of Parliament, making it impossible for the 12th Malaysia Plan to be approved by Parliament.
An illegitimate and backdoor “12th Malaysia Plan” will lack the legitimacy to be the driver of any national economic programme, as in the history of Malaysia, there had not been a five-year plan which had been not approved by Parliament.
Muhyiddin’s third priority to “ensure political stability with strong emphasis on good governance as a foundation for sustainable economic recovery” has become a joke with the release of the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020.
I had asked whether the Prime Minister and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would issue a statement on the TI CPUI 2020, as the TI CPI 2020 had put the country back on the slippery road of corruption.
I am doubly disappointed about the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, firstly because it did not come from the Prime Minister himself, and secondly for the insipid and uninspiring nature of the statement.
Muhyiddin failed to act on any of the four recommendations of Transparency International to reduce corruption and better respond to future crisis in 2021, viz:
- Strengthen oversight institutions to ensure resources reach those most in need. Anti Corruption authorities and oversight institutions must have sufficient funds, resources and independence to perform their duties.
- Ensure open and transparent contracting to combat wrongdoing, identify conflicts of interest and ensure fair pricing.
- Defend democracy and promote civic space to create enabling conditions to hold government accountable.
- Publish relevant data and guarantee access to information to ensure the public receives easy, accessible, timely and meaningful information.
Most distressing of all, there was no mention of what measures the Prime Minister is personally taking to ensure that next year’s TI CPI would not be worse than TI CPI 2021!
It would appear that Muhyiddin is resigned to the fact that TI CPI 2021 would be worse than TI CPI 2020!
As for the MACC’s statement, it is such a disappointment that the less said the better.
Muhyiddin’s fourth priority to “uphold the country’s sovereignty and strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage” has been punctured by the latest UNCTAD Report that foreign investment in Malaysia has fallen the most by 68% to US$2.5 billion as compared by Singapore, which fell by 37% to US$58 billion, Indonesia by 24% to US$18 billion and Vietnam by 10% to US$14 billion.
In the third Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking released on 27th January 2021, Malaysia continues to trail behind New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand.
Instead of becoming a tiger in the nineties, we have become the “sick man” of Asia in the 21st century!
Muhyiddin’s fifth priority to “strengthen ties between races and religions in shaping a united community against any threat” is the most problematic of all the five priorities.
It is observed by its breach, as illustrated by the cancellation of Thaipusam as a holiday by the Kedah Mentri Besar, Muhammad Sanusi Mohd Nor.
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 by the “Little Trumps” in the country.
There are no signs in the eleven months of Perikatan Nasional government that stern action would be taken against such a sustained diabolical misinformation campaign by the “Little Trumps” to polarise the races and religions in Malaysia.
When the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin is adamant that he is “Malays first, Malaysian second”, how can the race and religious situation be depolarised in a multi-racial and multi-religious nation and the people of Malaysia, regardless of race, religion, politics and region be integrated?
Muhyiddin’s greatest challenge is how to make these five priorities meaningful and inspirational to all Malaysians.
Will he dare to launch an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong to convene a Special Parliament on the Covid-19 pandemic so that Parliament can be the platform and centrepiece of such a strategy and approach?