Press statement by DAP Secretary-General and MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur on 12 January 2021:
Policy Flip-Flops, Double-Standards And Sheer Incompetency By The Perikatan Nasional (PN) Federal Government Caused Malaysians To Lose Both Our Lives And Livelihood In The Battle Against COVID-19
DAP express surprise at the request by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for an emergency proclamation that will be enforced until August 1, when the MCO announced yesterday by him is only for 14 days until January 26th. This obvious discrepancy raises deep suspicion whether Muhyiddin is motivated solely by public health considerations to battle COVID-19?
Why the need for an MCO yesterday with an Emergency Proclamation today? This has caused confusion about poor governance and administration of the PN government.
Further the excuse given by Muhyiddin for an Emergency is to overcome the call for early general election. Only UMNO is making this demand. All other political parties including the opposition PH and DAP opposes the call for early general election. Therefore it does not make sense when UMNO commands only 39 out of 222 seats in Parliament.
The emergency proclamation and reimposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) after the recent surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths, shows that the PN government prematurely claimed credit last year for containing COVID-19, with Senior Minister Azmin Ali making the ridiculous claim that PN government had saved more lives than PH. The time has come for PN to bear responsibility for their failure so that they can address their shortcomings to win this critical battle against COVID-19.
Policy flip-flops, double-standards and sheer incompetency by the PN Federal government caused Malaysians to lose both our lives and livelihood in the battle against COVID-19.
The endless politicking for survival following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s loss of parliamentary majority resulted in the PN government failing to focus on the job at hand.
Muhyiddin has not learnt the lessons from the previous round of MCO and Conditional MCO imposed in March and November last year, to provide and release urgently needed funds. We can save lives by using the RM17 billion COVID fund approved in the 2021 budget(reduced from RM38 billion in 2020) to assist our frontliners by investing in comprehensive testing, tracing and treatment (3T) to improve the health delivery system.
We can create new sources of economic growth and slow down retrenchments, job losses, business closures and save the economic livelihood of the rakyat by providing a RM45 billion economic stimulus package. This RM45 billion economic stimulus package will encompass:
- An increase in monthly welfare payments to RM1,000, including the unemployed.
- An automatic extension of the moratorium of bank loan repayments, excluding the Top 20%, until the end of the Emergency Proclamation on 1 August that will help 8 million Malaysian individuals and companies.
- Work hiring incentives over a period of 2 years, under Malaysia@Work of RM500 a month to employees and RM300 per month to employers to encourage them to hire local workers creating employment for 600,000 Malaysian workers. The unemployment rate rose from 4.7% to 4.8% in November 2020 when the conditional and recovery MCO was imposed.
- Digitalising education including buying laptops to provide on-line learning for students not able to attend schools, with students attended only 4 months of schooling last year.
- RM10 billion in financial grants should be given to provide a lifeline for new and existing businesses, loans and credit extensions, especially for the small and medium industry and the crippled tourism industry. The tourism industry lost RM100 billion in revenue last year and without “life-support” from the government, faces a bleak future.
Further the double-standards and incompetency must stop. The classic case of failure to observe COVID-19 health protocols by a Minister, Mohd Khairuddin bin Aman Razali, being compounded only RM1,000 without being charged in court for breaking quarantine restrictions, as compared to a 72-year old Malay lady who was charged in court and fined RM8,000 and a day’s jail.
The sheer incompetency of PN is highlighted not just by their failure to come out with the SOPs for the MCO even though they had 4 days to prepare.
Worse, is the delay in the delivery of vaccines by two months. At a time when Singapore has already taken delivery of the vaccines, our Health Minister is just signing agreements to purchase the vaccines.
The excuse that Malaysia did not have RM2.1 billion to purchase the vaccines is unacceptable because it is simply untrue. In cases of emergency crisis like this, not just RM2.1 billion but RM5 billion can be made available. How many more lives will be lost unnecessarily due to the incompetency of this PN cabinet?
Will the performance of the PN government improve with an Emergency Proclamation? This is unlikely with the suspension of Parliament, when there are no longer any restraints against abuse of power, the upholding accountability and transparency without parliamentary oversight or any checks and balances provided by the opposition.
Lim Guan Eng
MP for Bagan