Casualties of the invisible war against Covid-19 in Malaysia – parliamentary democracy, integrity, justice, national trust and solidarity

Yesterday, I said that if not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil, Malaysia would not have suffered the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak and Malaysia would have been spared the movement control order (MCO) and CMCO with their devastating effect on the loss of 113 lives and some 7,000 Covid-19 cases, as well as the livelihood of 32 million Malaysians.

On the same day, there was an article in the electronic media entitled: “Spoils of War: Sharing the loot, PN-style”.

There should be an article on “Casualties of the invisible war against Covid-19 in Malaysia – parliamentary democracy, integrity, justice, national trust and solidarity”.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a global phenomenon, and I have always advocated that Malaysia must learn from the successes and mistakes of other nations so that we can develop one of the best practices instead of pursuing the worst practices in the pandemic.

For instance, when MCO was imposed in Malaysia on March 18, Malaysia was the top 18th country in the world in terms of total number of Covid-19 confirmed cases – with 790 cases. United States was No.6 with 9,269 cases while Russia had even less cases than Malaysia and was positioned No. 48 with 147 cases.

But today, Malaysia is No. 56 with 7009 cases (an increase of 8.9 times in the past two months) while the United States is the world’s No. 1 with 1,591,252 cases (an increase of 171.7 times) while Russia is the world’s No. 2 with 308,705 cases (an increase of 2,100 times).

This also applies to Brazil and United Kingdom, now the world’s top No. 3 and No. 5 countries in terms of Covid-19 confirmed cases, with respectively 291,579 cases and 248,818 cases.

On March 18, Brazil had less cases than Malaysia, with only 529 cases (there was an increase of 551 times in the last two months) while UK was the world top 10th country with 2,626 cases (an increase of 94.8 times).

The fact that in the last two months, Malaysia’s Covid-19 confirmed cases increased by 8.9 times, while the United States, Russia, Brazil and United Kingdom underwent exponential increases of 171.7; 2,100; 551 and 94.8 times respectively show that something is very wrong with the public health policies in these four countries in the invisible war against the pandemic.

Malaysia should have avoided the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak which multiplied from 22 Covid-19 cases and one death during the Feb. 16 – 26 period to the present 7,009 cases and 114 deaths on May 19 if not for the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political turmoil.

But thanks to the frontliners who risked their lives and personal safety in the invisible war against Covid-19, Malaysia has now brought the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak under control – while in the United States, Russia, Brazil and the United Kingdom, either the peak of the of the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been reached or there is debate whether the peak has been reached.

There are those who do not want to know what is happening in other countries, but these are not people we can be trust about Malaysia’s survival and prosperity as an open economy.

It is sad and tragic that while Malaysia, like the rest of the world, is fighting an invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic, there are political leaders who are only preoccupied with the “spoils of war” in the Sheraton Move, utterly heedless about the “casualties” in the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic, viz: parliamentary democracy, integrity, justice, national trust and solidarity.

Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics, suffer when there is a parliamentary lockdown and suspension of Parliament’s constitutional role of oversight and scrutiny of government actions, in particular to prevent a return of abuses of power, rampant corruption, revival of kleptocracy or widespread violation of human rights.

The Perlis State Assembly yesterday held a full session – so did the Sabah State Assembly which met for three days as well as the Penang and Selangor State Assemblies.

Can the Prime Minister explain the reason for the truncated Parliamentary meeting on Monday allowing Members of Parliament to hear only the Royal Address, with the whole meeting adjourned in less than an hour, when the State Assemblies in Perlis, Sabah, Penang and Selangor could meet?

Yesterday, another Perikatan Nasional MP was appointed as Chairman of a GLC, in keeping with the announcement by the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Takiyuddin Hassan, that all government MPs who do not presently hold positions in government will be made heads of government-linked companies (GLCs).

This was another instance of the “spoils of war in the Sheraton Move” taking priority over the “casualties of the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic”!

When will it end? This will be fertile ground for the return of abuses of power, rampant corruption, the revival of kleptocracy and widespread violation of human rights!

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has completely subordinated the “casualties” in the invisible war against Covid-19 to the “spoils of war” from the Sheraton Move, which is why the government has no “all-of-society” exit plan strategy and blueprint in the pandemic to present to Parliament on Monday.

This is also the reason for the shocking plea bargain involving Riza Abdul Aziz who was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for money laundering involving US$248 million (RM1.08 billion) linked to 1MDB funds in exchange for his returning an estimated US$107.3 million (RM465.3 million).

The PN must declare its stand on the 1MDB scandal – whether it endorses the Pakatan Harapan stand that it is the biggest financial scandal in the nation’s history, which resulted in the sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Deputy Prime Minister, or whether it has reverted to the stance of the previous Barisan Nasional government before the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, regarding all talk of 1MDB scandal as lies and distortions where even MPs were banned from debating the issue in Parliament.

MP FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 21st May 2020