Weekly Highlights

PN Must Bear Full Responsibility For Losing Control Of The Surge In COVID-19 Infections

UMNO leaders, led by former its former Prime Malaysia Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, has launched a chorus of criticism against the PN Federal government’s poor performance, but yet has selfishly chosen to remain in their Ministerial posts. Such hypocrisy in UMNO’s criticism of PN federal government’s incompetency, abuse of power, corrupt practices, broken promises and policy U-turns poor performance is clearly not intended to correct PN’s failures, but to irresponsibly force early general elections regardless of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Najib attacking Muhyiddin just to force a general election?

The government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has seen an alarming rise in infections, displays the sheer incompetence of the Ministers in fully backing the front-liners struggling to contain the public health crisis at the risk of their lives. Not just the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Health Minister, but the entire Cabinet should be held responsible, especially for losing control of the surge in COVID-19 infections and delay in securing the vaccines.

The failure to purchase the vaccines early is unforgivable and may cause more lives to be lost unnecessarily. Petty excuses that Malaysia cannot afford a paltry sum like RM2.1 billion to purchase urgently needed vaccines is unacceptable. Malaysia can definitely afford not just RM2.1 billion but RM5 billion would be available in an emergency crisis like this. At a time when Singapore had obtained delivery and beginning mass vaccinations, Malaysia still has to wait another 2 months.

Muhyiddin’s government failure to purchase the vaccines earlier are unforgivable.

How big this blunder is can be seen by rise in COVID-19 infections, with MOH director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah predicting today that cases could reach 8,000 daily as early as March or the latest by May? Dr Noor Hisham’s dire prediction has caused public consternation and jeorpardised investor confidence, until the US Embassy issued an advisory for Americans to leave the country.

Is Tan Sri Muhyiddin keeping silent and not going to claim responsibility for his Cabinet’s failure, when he had claimed credit previously for managing the COVID-19 crisis well? What about the sovereign credit ratings was downgraded by Fitch Ratings, from A- to BBB+ to the same level as Indonesia, due to chronic political instability and poor governance.

Some of the prominent broken promises such as automatic extension of the bank loan moratorium, withdrawals of EPF contributions, increasing monthly welfare aid payments including the unemployed to RM1,000, proceeding with the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project and continuing with the iconic Penang ferry service.

Poor governance has led to grave doubts about Muhyiddin’s commitment towards accountability and transparency. This was highlighted by two policy changes of preferring negotiated tenders to open tenders, and appointment of unqualified politicians to head or be directors in Government-linked Corporations(GLCs) with public assets valued at tens of billions of ringgit.

UMNO appears to take the role of the opposition in criticizing their own government and yet hang on to their government posts. If UMNO is a party of principle, they would have already left the government. Or Muhyiddin would have sacked UMNO from his government for insubordination. However, the fact that UMNO remains in government underlines the fact that Muhyiddin has lost his parliamentary majority and needs UMNO to sustain his tenuous grip on power.

Lim Guan Eng

Secretary General of DAP

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