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Summon a special Parliament sitting to address Covid-19 third wave

Media Statement by MP for Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on 30 December 2020: 

Cabinet should today decide on summoning a special Parliament in January to address the runaway situation in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with a new “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and to establish a Select Committee on Covid-19 pandemic

 

Yesterday, Malaysia reported 1,925 new Covid-19 cases, ranking Malaysia as No. 35th among countries in the world with the highest daily increase of Covid-19 cases.

We seem to be in a runaway situation as far as the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia is concerned, losing control of the pandemic.

The last Cabinet meeting of the year today should try rectify its mistakes in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and should summon a special Parliament in January 2021 to address the runaway situation in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with a new “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and to establish a Select Committee on Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite my call more than six months ago for an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, and for Parliament to set up a Select Committee on the Covid-19 pandemic, nothing has been done.

 
For illustrative purposes.
 

We have overtaken China, a country where the pandemic started and which has a population 40 times that of Malaysia, in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, although fortunately not in the cumulative total of Covid-19 fatalities, on Dec. 16.

We are now No. 74 in the world among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 infections, with 108,615 cases, while China is ranked No. 81 with 87,003 cases.

At the rate of our daily increase of Covid-19 cases, and that of Myanmar, we are likely to replace Myanmar as No. 68 as the country in the world with the most number of cumulative total of Covid-19 cases in three weeks’ time, and surging ahead to be among the top 30-40 countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

By that time, around the Inauguration Day for the new United States President on January 20, 2021, the United States would probably have 25 million Covid-19 cases and the world close to 100 million cases.

Malaysia is now among the worst countries in ASEAN in fighting the Covid-19 epidemic, losing out to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, poised to overtake Myanmar, beating Indonesia in the “total cases per 1 million population” index (Indonesia’s 2,645 vs Malaysia’s 3,335), while behind Philippines on all fronts – from  cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, Covid-19 fatalities to “total cases per 1 million population” index.

What has gone wrong with the public health system in Malaysia, as the country should be among the best instead of being among the worst in ASEAN.

 

Health experts are calling for a different strategy in Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19 to avoid further strain on the public health system.

 
For illustrative purposes.
 

This should be the top item of the agenda of the Cabinet today, and an announcement of a new strategy to bring the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic under control should be announced after the Cabinet meeting.

In this context, the warning by the former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bilahari Kausikan, in Nikkei Asia  that “Southeast Asia must prepare for the worst in 2021” should be taken seriously by the Cabinet.

He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed failures of governance in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

He wrote:

 

“Viable vaccines will be rolled out during the year. But a vaccine is not a panacea for bad governance. These countries will still struggle to avoid being overwhelmed….

“As the pandemic drags on and fatigue sets in, new waves of infections are likely. Avoiding complacency and maintaining social discipline will be serious challenges, particularly because we cannot forever remain closed to each other and the world. The economic costs are mounting and the final bill is far from being tallied.”

 

It has been heart-wrenching to review the year and the many  missed opportunities, both in Malaysia and the world in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of March this year, the national medical director of National Health Service (NHS) in England, Prof Stephen Powis said that every citizen in the United Kingdom must play a part if the number of deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic are to be kept below 20,000 while the man who was  then in charge of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned  that Covid-19 could claim from 100,000 to 200,000 lives.

Today, the Covid-19 fatalities for the United States stand at 345,512  and the 500,000 fatalities in the United States is  being discussed, while the United Kingdom (71,567 deaths) is the sixth country in the world after the United States, Brazil (191,735), India (148,423), Mexico (122,855) and Italy (73,029) with the highest Covid-19 fatalities.

On 23rd March 2020, I urged the government to earn the trust and confidence of all Malaysians and to communicate effectively on the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, but the government had failed dismally on both scores.

These grave mistakes which had led to a runaway situation in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia should be the subject for a special Parliament next month.

Lim Kit Siang
MP for Iskandar Puteri

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