The light at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic tunnel is getting brighter but we must remain vigilant in view of the advent of omnicron variant of Covid-19 virus

The light at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic tunnel is getting brighter but we must remain vigilant in view of the omnicron variant of Covid-19 virus – to adhere to mask wearing, to use good ventilation and to avoid close contact with too many people and to get vaccinated or get booster shots.

Yesterday, we recorded 4,087 daily new Covid-19 cases – the lowest in 197 days - the strongest indication that we can look forward to breaching the 4,000-line to go below 4,000 daily new Covid-19 cases after struggling for six weeks in the 4,500 – 6,500 cases region for daily new cases, and even to return to pre-Emergency days of January 11, 2021 when we had 2,232 daily new Covid-19 cases and four Covid-19 deaths.

But we must go back further to end the longest Covid-19 wave in the world for Malaysia had been having the third Covid-19 wave since the Sabah state general elections in September last year – lasting over 14 months!

Many Malaysians have still a misconception of the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) which Pakatan Harapan signed with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, as if Pakatan Harapan had ceased to be an Opposition coalition and been corralled into the Ismai Sabri government.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Covid-19 pandemic was one of the chief reasons for the CSR MOU.

When Ismail Sabri was sworn in as the ninth Prime Minster of Malaysia, we recorded 22,262 daily new Covid-19 cases with 233 daily Covid-19 deaths, with cumulative totals of 1,535,286 Covid-19 cases and 13,936 Covid-19 deaths.

If the exponential increase of Covid-19 cases and deaths had not been checked, we could have reached cumulative totals of five million Covid-19 cases and some 100,000 Covid-19 deaths.

The CSR MOU had probably saved the lives of some 60,000 – 70,000 people as the cumulative totals today are 2,627,903 Covid-19 cases and 30,370 deaths.

But the pace of decreasing the exponential increase of daily new Covid-19 cases and daily Covid-19 deaths have been agonisingly slow and unacceptable, to the extent that we are behind Indonesia and even India.

Indonesia yesterday recorded 176 daily new cases and eleven Covid-19 deaths and had been recording daily Covid-19 new cases in triple digit numbers for seven weeks since Oct. 14 and double-digit numbers for daily Covid-19 deaths for eight weeks since Oct. 3.

Yesterday, Malaysia has even lost out to India in daily new Covid-19 cases, as India recorded 2,765 cases as against Malaysia’s 4,807 cases.

If we had not achieved a modicum of political stability with the CSR MOU, the political game of “Who is the Prime Minister of Malaysia” would have been the main game in town.

DAP and Pakatan Harapan do not support the 2022 Budget but we do not want to made pawns of the “Who is the Prime Minister of Malaysia” game and we do not fancy those who were eyeing the Prime Minister’s position, including Azmin Ali and Hamzah Zainuddin of Bersatu and Zahid Hamidi, Hishammudin Hussein, Ahmad Mazlan and even Najib Razak of UMNO, to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Only one thing was certain: It would not be Anwar Ibrahim as Pakatan Harapan could not muster majority support in Parliament to name him as the Prime Minister.

The CSR MOU did not commit DAP and Pakatan Harapan to support the racialist, unjust and one-sided 2022 Budget. It only committed the DAP and PH not to vote down the 2022 Budget, which will mean Ismail Sabri’s resignation as Prime Minister as it tantamount to a vote of no confidence.

Now, whether the CSR MOU could last until July 2022 is in question as a result of the “landslide” victory of UMNO in the Malacca general election – in seats but not in votes.

While UMNO leaders, like UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy President, Mohamad Hassn, UMNO Youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and even Najib Razak are pressing for early 15th general election, political analysts are unanimous in their view that BN victory n Malacca is bad news for Ismail Sabri.

This is because Ismail Sabri must decide on whether to give in to the pressure of the UMNO leaders to tear up the CSR MOU and have early 15th General Election, and become the Prime Minister with the shortest tenure shorter than Muhyiddin Yassin, or be a Prime Minister who kept his word in the CSR MOU not to have general election until July 2022.

Malaysians will know on Dec. 8 whether Najib will be making a serious bid to become the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

If on that date, the Court of Appeal quashes his conviction in the RM42 million SRC International corruption case and sentencing of 12 years imprisonment and RM210 million fine, the likelihood is that Najib will put into action his plan for his return as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia in the 15th general election, shoving Ismail Sabri aside.

Malaysians will know in nine days whether there will be a serious bid for the return of kleptocracy in the country.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri