Weekly Highlights

Dr. Ong Kian Ming offers free counselling services for businesses under lockdown

MP for Bangi, Dr. Ong Kian Ming gave us a sneak peak into his Whatsapp groups chats after the recent announcement from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin regarding the 4 phases of the National Recovery Plan.

In his statement released yesterday titled “A Question of Trust and what we can do about it”, the DAP politician outlined 5 common questions from friends, family, and colleagues that was shared in group conversations.

The questions were definitely those we’ve seen before or even asked ourselves during latest lockdown in our country.

What if businesses like gyms are unable to recover after the lockdown?

The first set of questions dealt with the survival of businesses such as gyms, cinemas and restaurants. What will happen to them? Will there be assistance for them in the months of July and August?

There were many who was also concerned that cases would increase again the moment economic sectors were allowed to re-open. The fear would be that there would be another MCO and we would start back again at square one.

DAP’s Wong Kah Woh was equally perplexed by PN’s decision to not reopen Parliament

And of course, his whatsapp groups were ablaze with many questioning why Parliament isn’t considered an essential service, especially when MPs and many of their staff and also the civil servants who have to attend parliament have already gotten their COVID19 vaccine shots (at least the first dose)?

There were also those who wanted detailed plans from each ministry to allow the sectors under their jurisdiction to open up and to operate safely during the lockdown.

While parents questioned whether their children would get access to devices that will allow them to learn online as they were no longer permitted to go to school.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming stated that the reason he was sharing the questions from his group is to explain to PN what happens when there is a breakdown in trust from the rakyat. People ended up having more questions after Muhyiddin’s announcement when they should have been having their questions answered instead.

PN’s ineffectiveness has caused much distrust for the government and politicians in general. Dr. Ong Kian Ming shared several examples of how distrust can have consequences to the government, and thus it is in PN’s best interest to instil public confidence in the government once again.

He shared three examples below:


“Under the FMCO, the approval for operations for the various sectors is supposed to come from individual ministries. But the letter of approval for individual businesses to continue to operate is issued by MITI under the CIMS 3.0 system. So when a gang of robbers used a MITI issued letter for a security company to continue to operate to cross state lines and proceeded to carry out a robbery in Melaka, the headlines blamed MITI for issuing the letter when the approval must have come from the Home Ministry!

Of course, MITI is not helped by the fact that its Minister, Azmin Ali, is one of the most unpopular politicians in the country at the moment (and probably in the foreseeable future as well).”

Number 2: Double standard SOPs

“As a Member of Parliament, I am allowed to cross district and state lines for the purpose of work. I often run at the open area outside the Bukit Jalil Stadium which is located less than 2km from where I live and I have been exercising here since the start of the FMCO. I will also sometimes run in certain areas in Kuala Lumpur, not just for the purpose of exercise but also to check to see if my fellow runners are following the FMCO SOPs and not congregating in groups before and after their runs.

But because there is such a low public opinion of politicians at the moment, I also receive criticism on social media for running outside my housing area whereas I am in fact, doing my job as an MP (and getting some exercise at the same time). I do not blame the public because of the double standards shown by some Ministers and also celebrities during this period.”

Number 3: Queue cutting for vaccines

“My local councillors and their assistants as well as my volunteers under Unit Tindak Bangi have been helping me conduct vaccine registration exercises, sanitization of factories and other places with COVID19 positive cases and doing traffic management and crowd control for the recently concluded mass testing exercises in Selangor. They are regularly exposed to COVID19 positive people.

But I am worried that if I submit their names of the local district health officer (Pengawai Kesihatan Daerah), I will be labelled as an MP that promotes “queue cutting for my own staff” even though I consider them to be frontliners in their own right in the fight against this pandemic. “

The three examples that were shared by Dr. Ong Kian Ming really shows the level of public distrust against PN and as a result, politicians as a whole.

While it may be good for citizens to always question their government and their actions, there can also be downsides to severe distrust. Especially in times like this, where the rakyat and the government must come together to and beat Covid-19 using the whole of society concept.

PN must buck up to instil public confidence in the government and its institutions if Malaysia wants to fight the pandemic and reopen the economy.

So, what can we do as a society in response to the Prime Minister’s National Recovery Plan?

Dr. Ong Kian Ming will be providing pro bono consultation services for businesses under sectors that have yet to be opened, will need some time to open, or may be bankrupt by the time they are allowed to open.

“This is what I think I can and should do as an elected representative with sufficient exposure to different sectors of the economy given my past experience as the Deputy Minister of MITI, as a former Boston Consulting Group consultant, as a former academic at a private university in Malaysia and as a Member of Parliament for the past 8 years.”

Dr. Ong Kian Ming

He has outlined a 3 point plan for business owners as a guideline during lockdown

1) Propose as detailed an SOP as possible to allow for a safe and secure way of opening with limited capacity and then growing that capacity as the # of cases reduces. (I believe, for example, that cinemas already have a very strict SOP which actually can be implemented even now, to allow for limited seating capacity and ample social distancing)

2) Propose ideas for your company and your sector to be part and parcel of the national vaccination program so that you can play a part in increasing the % of vaccination. For example, offer incentives or discounts for people who have been vaccinated for your services.

3) Propose methods and means to ensure some sort of revenue stream for your company / sector which requires changes / flexibility in govt regulations to cover for the time before your sector is allowed to open fully. For example, I just visited a hotel / resort yesterday which is planning to convert itself temporarily into a PPV as well as a COVID quarantine center in order to cover some of its operating costs.

Anyone who is interested in taking up his offer, can reach out to him at [email protected] and you will receive a personal response within 48 hours of your email, if not sooner.

The Rocket

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