Weekly Highlights

The 18-rung fall of Malaysia in Reporters without borders (RSF) annual press freedom index 2021

In my first #kerajaangagal daily statement on Sunday, I called on the Health Minister, Adham Baba, to  stop his game of semantics and focus on checking the rise in the daily increase of Covid-19 cases and bring the third Covid-19 wave  down to double-digit figures before the advent of the fourth Covid wave or resign!

Since then, the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic has featured in every one of my  #kerajaangagal daily statements.

Today is no exception, as more and more Malaysians have woken up to the fact that Malaysia is one of the worst national performers in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have for  six consecutive days breached the 2000-mark in daily increase of new Covid-19 cases, posing the question whether Malaysia would be faced with a fourth Covid-19 wave before we can bring the third Covid-19 wave under control by reducing the daily increase of new cases to double-digit figures.

We do not want to compare ourselves with the United States and the European nations who occupied eight of the 10 top spots for the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, but even in East Asia and Pacific region, we have trailed behind Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam in our performance as a nation in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia is the worst country in ASEAN for “cases per million” and has an even higher ratio of “cases per million” than India, which is facing deadly new Covid wave to retake the No. 2 place in the world with the most number of cumulative total of Covid-19 cases from Brazil on April 10, 2021. 

The Health Ministry said yesterday that the spread of Covid-19 is a global phenomenon and not limited to Malaysia, and that neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Indonesia were also grappling with a surge in new infections.

Is there any explanation why Malaysia has a ratio of 11,606 for “cases per million population” while Indonesia is 5,855 while Thailand 646?

Why Malaysia is ranked No. 44 with a cumulative total of 379,473 cases, as compared Thailand, which has double Malaysia’s population, is ranked No. 107 with 45,185 cases?

But what must take the cake for the #kerajaangagal4 statement today  is Malaysia’s 18-rung drop on Reporters Without Border’s (RSF) annual press freedom index 2021– with Malaysia dropping  the most out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index.

Ranked 119, Malaysia is sandwiched between the Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

Malaysia’s best ranking was in 2020 (101 out of 180 countries ranked) while the worst ranking was in 2014 and 2015 (147).

RSF said that Malaysia’s press freedom situation improved dramatically after the 2018 elections, but things have gone in reverse since  the Pakatan Harapan government was toppled in 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy bringing in a backdoor, undemocratic and illegitimate  Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

“For the media, the restoration of more authoritarian rule in 2020 has led to prosecutions, police searches, expulsions (of journalists and a whistleblower) and flagrant violations of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.

“To protect themselves against the government’s offensive, many journalists have had to censor themselves,” he said.

From macro to micro, the latter for  #kerajaangagal4 will be malfunctioning of the 10 ventilators given to Sarawak hospitals in conjunction with the official visit of the Health Minister on April 13, as revealed by the DAP Sarawak State Assemblyperson for Bukit Assek Irene Mary Chang Oi Ling.

At least, the non-functioning or faulty ventilators can be replaced but can the 18-rung drop in Malaysia’s RSF Press Freedom Index 2021 be undone and improved on further by a backdoor, undemocratic and illegitimate government which had to depend on an emergency to prolong its rule?

Lim Kit Siang

Member of Parliament for Iskandar Puteri

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