#kerajaangagal141 – Replace the National Recovery Plan with a new strategy to win the war against Covid-19 pandemic

The National Recovery Plan hurriedly announced by the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 15th June on the eve of the Conference of Rulers special meeting is not one which can win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is clear from the failure of the six-month emergency declared on January 11, 2021 and the extended “total lockdowns” ending tomorrow June 28 with the Prime Minister just announcing that the first phase of the National Recovery Plan continues until the threshold of less than 4,000 cases a day is reached.

Realising the unpopularity of his announcement, Muhyddihn has dispensed with a live national telecast!

But his announcement raised a number of questions.

He said on June 15 that the government will consider shifting into phase two of the plan if:

  • Average daily Covid-19 cases fall below 4,000
  • The healthcare system is no longer at a critical stage, with ICU bed usage returning to moderate levels
  • 10% of the population has received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines

Firstly, is the transition to Phase Two now based on one criteria of the threshold of less than 4,000 cases or the three criteria still apply.

Secondly, is it 4,000 cases on one day, or an average daily Covid-19 cases – is it the rolling average for one week or two weeks.

Of course, there will be the cynic who will say that the threshold of less than 4,000 cases a day can be reached by less testing – when in fact, Malaysia needs more testing of Covid-19 cases!

Does this also mean that the Cabinet wants to push back further the convening of Parliament – well after September or October?

What is clear however is that a new start and a new strategy is needed in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, and I am convinced if the best minds of the country are fully utilised, there is no reason for Malaysia to top the world as one of the worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The question is whether the Muhyiddin government is ready for a new start in the war against Covid-19 pandemic.

I have called for the creation of conditions to win the war against Covid-19 pandemic, which includes (i) a national mobilisation; (ii) restore public trust and confidence; (iii) economic stimulus packages to help the poor and vulnerable sectors; (iv) effective and efficient Find-Test-Trace-Isolate-Support (FTTIS) strategy; and (v) accelerate national vaccination rollout.

It is tragic that after 18 months after fighting the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, none of these five pre-conditions for a win in the war against Covid-19 pandemic are fully present.

I am suggesting that the National Recovery Plan should be replaced with a new Covid-19 war strategy because of its many weaknesses and even failure to take into account the views of the Prime Minister’s own special advisor on public health, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood who said a week after Muhyiddin announced the National Recovery Plan that Covid-19 is likely to become endemic as mentioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and that a different approach may be required to tackle it.

What is most deplorable and reprehensible is the racial attitude in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, like the proposal by the Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association (PPPKAM) which suggested that the government should consider hiring new medical officers along racial lines.

This has rightly provoked a strong reaction from the Malaysian Medical Association rejecting this racist approach as if Covid-19 decides to infect people based on race.

The stand of the Health Minister, Adham Baba, approving the PPPKAM position must be condemned in no uncertain terms, especially coming from a doctor who proposed “warm water” cure for Covid-19 cases.

I call on the Cabinet to fully endorse the position by the MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy rejecting that racial and religious criteria be used to influence the appointment of medical officers for permanent service as firstly, such talents come in all races, religion, creeds, ethnicities and gender and secondly, the government of Malaysia should lead the way in uniting the rakyat in a plural society and not sow discord amongst its working professionals.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri