If not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil, Malaysia would not have suffered the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak and would be spared the MCO and CMCO with their devastating effect on lives and livelihood in Malaysia

The Health Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, said yesterday that nearly half of the Covid-19 cases in the country could be traced back to the cluster involving a religious gathering in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur which took place between February 28 and March 1 involving participants from all over the world.

If not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil referred to by the Yang di Pertuan Agong in his Royal Address at the one-day Parliament on Monday, Malaysia would not have suffered the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak and our total of Covid-19 confirmed cases would be in the mid-3000s, if not below 3,000 cases, instead of nearly reaching 7,000 cases today.

When Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, we were the top 18th country in the world and the top country in Southeast Asia in terms of total number of Covid-19 cases, and the top 33rd country in the world in terms of Covid-19 deaths.

Now, we have slipped to No. 56th country in terms of total Covid-19 confirmed cases – and in fact, if not for the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, we should rank above No. 70 among countries in terms of Covid-19 confirmed cases. We should be behind Thailand, which has more than twice our population. Thailand is presently ranked No. 70, with 3,033 cases and 56 deaths.

At present, there are eleven countries which have surpassed the 100,000 mark for Covid-19 confirmed cases. They are: (1) United States – 1,570,144; (2) Russia – 299,941; (3) Spain – 278,803; (4) Brazil – 271,628; (5) United Kingdom – 248,818; (6) Italy – 226,699; (7) France – 180,809; (8) Germany 177,827; (9) Turkey – 151,615; (10) Iran – 124,603; and (11) India – 106,475 cases. Peru, with 99,483 cases, is the 12th top ranking country and is less than 520 cases to reach the 100,000 mark while China occupies the 13th position with 82,960 cases.

The cost of the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil had been a very heavy one for Malaysia.

If not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuring political turmoil, Malaysia would not have suffered the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak and would be spared the movement control order (MCO) and CMCO with their devastating effect on lives and livelihood in Malaysia.

It was fortunate that Malaysia did not have to depend on the political leadership in government to combat the second wave of the invisible war against Covid-19, as it was more concerned with consolidating its position in power, including how to lock down Parliament and nullify Parliament of its constitutional roles of oversight and scrutiny of government actions.

I shudder to think of the disastrous outcomes that await the country if it had to depend solely on the political leadership in government for action and direction, going by the farces, buffooneries and abuses of powers which it had caused, like the “warm water cure for Covid-19”, “15 states”, “500 countries”, “Doraemon”, “Menteri”, “Tik Tok, serious allegations of discrimination of food aid parcels for needy B40 families in Opposition constituencies and the rotten Riza Abdul Aziz plea bargain.

Malaysians have rightly paid tribute to the frontliners who risked their own lives and personal safety to bring the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak under control.

The government should have taken the opportunity of the Royal Address in Parliament on Monday (two full months after the first imposition of MCO on March 18) to present the government’s exit plan strategy and blueprint in the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” approach to win the multiple war of containing Covid-19 and prevent a resurgence and to quickly ensure the bounce back of the Malaysian economy.

It is a serious dereliction of duty of the political leadership in government that this has not been done.

When will the government present to the public its exit plan strategy and blueprint as experts are now advising that the public have to learn to live with the coronavirus, as an effective vaccine may take two to five years to be developed and widely available?

MP FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 20th May 2020