#kerajaangagal113 –Muhyiddin’s national recovery plan is a great disappointment and let-down as it offers no light at the end of the tunnel – only fog and more fog
The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s much-hyped live national telecast yesterday on the National Recovery Plan is a great disappointment and let-down as it offers not light at the end of the tunnel, only fog and more fog.
Let me here first give five reasons why Muhyiddin’s national recovery plan is no plan for recovery.
Firstly, it is a misnomer. It is not about national recovery to chart the country’s return to the pre-pandemic era but how to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control.
The Covid-19 Pandemic Exit Plan to see the end of the pandemic is different from the National Recovery Plan for the economic, educational, social and political recovery of Malaysia from the devastation of the pandemic to the lives, economy and society of Malaysians.
The National Recovery Plan can only really begin when the pandemic has ended.
It is like talking about a national recovery plan when a war is still going at full blast. A national recovery plan can only begin when the war has ended.
For one, it is impossible to bring back to life the 4,069 who have perished – but how many more will die before Malaysians see the end of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Secondly, it is 16 months too late, for the Covid-19 Pandemic Exit Plan should have been drawn up at the beginning of the pandemic and not after 16 months of the pandemic!
It was only on May 23, 2021 that Muhyiddin publicly declared that there would be no full lockdown as the first movement control order (MCO) implemented on March 18 last year almost led to a total economic collapse.
He said the economy almost collapsed as it cost approximately RM2.4 billion a day during MCO 1.0.
He said if there were a full-scale lockdown, a RM340 million stimulus package like before would certainly be insufficient to stimulate the economy again. May be half a trillion ringgit will be needed, he mused but he asked whether Malaysia has the money.
He said: “We may be able to close down the economy, but to reopen it after it has likely collapsed?
“So we learned from this, we cannot close everything altogether. Life is important, and I do not wish for the national economy to collapse.”
But five days later, Muhyiddin did what he said he would not do – he announced a total lockdown for two weeks from June 1, which had been extended for another two weeks from June 14.
Will the “total lockdown” be further extended on June 28?
What type of a “national recovery” planning is this?
Thirdly, Muhyiddin has ignored the elephant in the room and failed to explain why Malaysia had suddenly become one of the world’s top worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.
On November 18, 2020, we ranked No. 85 among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
Now, some seven months later, with 667,876 Covid-19 cases, we have overtaken Austria and is now ranked No. 38 among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases. We will overtake Switzerland to be ranked No. 37 in the world before June 28.
China, which topped the world at the start of the pandemic, is now No. 99 with 91,471 Covid-19 cases.
According to Our World in Data website, for cases per million of population for June 14, 2021, we have as usual been consistently beating the world’s top 37 countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases except for four countries in South America – Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
The magnitude of the failure of Malaysia’s emergency to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control could be gauged by the huge gulf in daily increase of new Covid-19 cases between Malaysia and countries which were once regarded as worst performing nations in Covid-19 pandemic.
These worst performing nations have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and have even turned the corner, but Malaysia is still searching for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Malaysia’s “cases per million of population” on June 14, 2021 was 178.19 as compared to United States (41.69), India (59.46), France (58.10), Turkey (71.90), Russia (83.70), UK (107.32), Italy (28.54), Spain (104.63), Germany (23.57), Iran (115.93), Indonesia (29.52) and Philippines (60.03).
So far, 4,069 people have died of Covid-19 in Malaysia – 3,518 deaths during the five months of the emergency since January 11, 2021 or nearly seven times the fatalities when compared to the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic before the emergency when there were 551 deaths.
We have also become a top-ranking nation in the world in term of daily deaths per million population.
Did Muhiyddin explain why Malaysia had become such a “failed nation” in the Covid-19 pandemic, as reflected by Malaysia’s tumbling by 19 spots from No. 16 in January to No. 35 in the May 2021 Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking for 53 countries with economies of more than US$200 billion?
Look at the latest global report on the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United States, the worst nation in the Covid-19 pandemic in the last 18 months with a cumulative total of over 34 million Covid-19 cases, have greatly slashed its daily increase of new Covid-19 cases in the last for four days by some 96-97% from the peak of daily increase of 305,073 new Covid-19 cases on January 8, 2021.
Even India, which in April and May had taken over from the United States as the worst nation in terms of the caseload of Covid-19 cases and deaths, have sharply reduced its daily increase of new Covid-19 cases, falling from the peak of daily increase of 414,433 new Covid-19 cases on May 6, 2021 to 62,597 cases yesterday - a humongous drop of 85%!
What of Malaysia?
Our previous peak of daily increase of new Covid-19 cases was on January 30, 2021 when we had 5,728 new Covid-19 cases.
In the upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the last one month, we exceeded the January peak for 21 days and established a new peak on May 29 with a daily increase of 9,020 cases amidst warning that we could reach a daily increase of 13,000 Covid-19 cases.
Fourthly, the refusal to immediately convene Parliament and the various State Assemblies until Phase Three of the government’s Covid-19 exit plan sometime in September or October.
This is a major reason why Muhyiddin’s live national telecast yesterday will not be able to restore public trust and confidence in the government handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The proclamation of emergency, the unconstitutional suspension of Parliament and the various State Assemblies and the Covid-19 SOP flip-flops, U-turns and double-standards were the major reasons for the unprecedented deficit in public trust and confidence in the government’s handling of the war against Covid-19 pandemic.
Just as five months after the proclamation emergency on January 11, 2021, the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases have more than doubled yesterday – from 2,232 new cases on January 11 to 5,419 new cases on June 14, 2021 – what is there to ensure that by September or October, the three conditions of an average of less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases daily, sufficient ICU capacity and up to 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated would all exist?
Is Parliament to be suspended indefinitely if these three conditions are not met?
Why other countries, regarded as poor performing nations in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, could turn around without suspending their Parliaments or even declaring an emergency?
Fifthly, a former Minister messaged me that what Muhyiddin announced yesterday was “Zero Plan”.
When Muhyiddin announced the total lockdown less than three weeks ago, he was talking about a ”three-phase” total lockdown. Now Muhyiddin is talking about a “four-phase” total lockdown.
Will there be more phases come September or October?
If the United States can transform from the world’s top worst nation in the Covid-19 pandemic, recording over 6.5 million Covid-19 cases in December 2020, and slash the Covid-19 caseload to 214,000 cases in the first half-month of June, 2021, why must Malaysia be planning till the end of the year for the re-opening of the economy?
Clearly, Muhyiddin live telecast yesterday was more a response to the Special Rulers’ Conference today on the disastrous government mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the emergency and the suspension of Parliament are two major reasons why Malaysia is still searching for the light at the tunnel - when other nations which had performed badly in the pandemic had turned the corner and managing the pandemic well especially with their national vaccination rollout - the emergency and the suspension of Parliament and the various State Assemblies must be ended for the nation to see light at the end of the tunnel in the Covid-19 pandemic.
So far, one Minister has publicly spoken out on the need to reconvene Parliament Immediately. Will the Cabinet meeting this morning spring a historic surprise and announce the ending of the emergency and the immediate convening of Parliament to win the war against Covid-19 pandemic?