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Ditch the useless one-size-fits-all approach, it’s time to decentralise

Press Statement
2nd July 2021

Group Think, Ad-hoc Policy and Incompetent Decision Making By PN Requires A Shift To Allow State Governments To Determine MCO Restrictions And SOPs For Business Operations.

The sudden decision to impose Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in most parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor without relying on science and data has bred a sense of gloom and doom amongst local residents. Many in other states are concerned as to whether such a decision will be made unilaterally without any consultation with the state governments.

The EMCO is a blunt tool applying at a “one size fits all” solution that penalises not only bad behaviour but also good behaviour amongst those who comply with COVID-19 SOPs and has no COVID-19 cases. In effect many are punished through no fault of their own, with disastrous financial consequences for business operators. A full month of total lockdown MCO has seen a rise instead of a reduction in the number of COVID-19 infections, then there should be a reassessment of the efficacy of total lockdown MCO.

Clearly the PN Federal government is not the solution to our problems but the actual problem itself. Group think, ad-hoc policy and incompetent decision making by PN Ministers require a shift to allow state governments to determine MCO restrictions and SOPs for business operations. Unless there is new thinking, the PN government is repetitively doing the same thing over again and over again whilst expecting different results.

A targeted MCO approach relying on science and data based on the World Health Organisation’s proven success of adopting mass screenings to ‘test, trace, isolate and treat’, as well as a swift and smooth vaccination programme, is our best hope to win the war against COVID-19. DAP had proposed an additional RM 4 billion for the mass screening exercise as well as enhancing our straining health support system, including giving permanent postings to 35,216 contract health officers comprising 23,077 medical officers, 5,000 dental officers and 7,139 pharmacists.

The PN Federal government should admit that a centralised approach has failed to produce the desired results and should give state governments and MPs the opportunity to manage the COVID-19 in the respective areas. A case in point is the four phase National Recovery Plan (NRP) that ignores states with low cases of daily infections. There is no reason for these states to be penalised equally with other states with higher daily infections.

The time has come for decentralisation by permitting the state governments and MPs to decide what is the best approach on MCO restrictions or business operating hours in their respective localities. This would also encourage accountability and transparency instead of a one-size-fits all formula. Let us reward those who comply with COVID-19 SOPs.

Lim Guan Eng
DAP Secretary-General

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