Dec. 30 should be named the National Memorial Day for the Covid-19 dead in Malaysia

Malaysia has lost an eminent son, James Masing, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister in the Covid-19 pandemic.

James Masing was a leading Dayak leader who had distinguished himself in his service to his community, state and nation.

His loss is a great and irreplaceable one.

The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed over 28,000 lives in the past 22 months, with 5,839 Brought-in-Dead (BID).

Malaysia Covid-19 fatality rate is the highest in ASEAN and East Asian regions, with death per capita of 876 deaths per 1 million population.

Over 43% of the 28,912 Covid-19 deaths were recorded in the 64 days after Khairy Jamaluddin had taken his oath as Health Minister on August 30.

We must cut down the Covid-19 death rate in Malaysia and make the Brought-in-Dead Covid-19 deaths (5,846 BID so far) a rare phenomenon.

We are moving in this direction in the last two days, when Malaysia recorded 44 deaths (with four BID deaths) on Oct. 30 and 36 Covid-19 deaths (with seven BID deaths) yesterday.

A team of volunteers have created a website as a memorial to those who have lost their battles to the Covid-19 in Malaysia -

As the website noted, there is Kuala Lumpur a Tugu Negara - the National Monument – dedicated to remembering the 11,000 people who died during the World World I, World War II and the 12-year Malayan Emergency.

Since Covid-19 hit Malaysian shores on January 24, and claimed its first life in March 2020, 28,912 have died of Covid-19 (including 5,846 Brought-in-Dead cases).

As the C19 memorial website noted: “They are not just numbers. Those who have fallen are brothers, sisters, mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, aunts, grandfathers, friends – dearly loved individuals. This is to remember them, their names, their faces, their lives. Information published here is collated from the public domain (through news article and public social media posts), and through submissions and testimonials from the public.”

Browsing through the website, one is reminded of the tens of thousands of tragedies of the 22-month Covid-19 pandemic, the enormous price Malaysia has paid in human toll, that apart from James Masing, we have lost former Sabah Governor and Chief Minister Sankaran Dandai, former deputy minister Lajim Ukin and Guan Dee Koh Hoi, former Chief Secretary to government Ahmad Sarji Ahmad Hamid, former State Assemblymen Kee Phaik Chin (Gerakan), Wan Ismail Wan Jusoh (PAS) and Ismail Kijo (UMNO), former Pakatan Harapan Youth leader Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin, property developer Teo Chiang Quan, surveyor Michael Gek Thuan Peng, former police officials Ramlan Abdul Razak and Baharom Othman, lawyers like Amir Askee Meor Nordin, Ghazi Ishak and Lim Fung Yin, medical professionals like Dr. Shariffudin Ramli and Dr. Rohit Nambier Seseadharan Nambiar, artist Nasir Nadzri, violinist Hashim Ariffin, singer Joyce Leelyn, pastor David Cheng and drummer Chong Hai Liang - each a human tragedy by itself that could have been avoided.

Let us remember the Covid-19 dead once a year, with the Prime Minister presiding over the ceremonies.

I have suggested Decemberr 30 year, for I expect the Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia to taper off by that date.

In 1918, the Spanish Flu pandemic killed 34,644 people in Malaysia. The Malaysian government, with the co-operation of the people, must ensure that the toll from Covid-19 pandemic is not more than the 1918 Spanish Flu.

For 31 days, Indonesia had recorded triple-digit daily new Covid-19 cases with 523 new cases yesterday and for two consecutive weeks, it had recorded double-digit daily Covid-19 deaths with 17 Covid-19 deaths yesterday.

Yesterday, India fell to 12,874 daily new Covid-19 cases and 251 daily Covid-19 deaths (less than one per cent of its daily peak of 414,433 Covid-19 deaths on May 6, 2021) and China recorded 71 daily new Covid-19 cases and zero Covid-19 deaths, but Malaysia recorded 4,979 daily new Covid-19 cases and 36 Covid-19 deaths.

It is time for Malaysia to perform better than Indonesia, India and China in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri