Weekly Highlights

The road to 1 million

#kerajaangagal175 – Is there any Minister who dare to deny that Malaysia is likely to pass the million mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases by the end of this month and what is the government doing about a new strategy to prepare Malaysians to live with the coronavirus?

In the first week of May, the Indonesian Health Ministry advised Indonesians to stay home and tighten their 3M health protocols  against Covid-19 infection (masks, hand washing and maintaining social distancing) ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays warning them to learn from India and Malaysia: “Learn from India and Malaysia for surely we don’t want Indonesia to face the same problem”.

Two months later, Indonesia had overtaken Malaysia and India as a worst-performing nation in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Indonesia had 54,417 new Covid-19 cases and  991 Covid-19 deaths while India had 41,854 new Covid-19 cases and 580 Covid-19 deaths and Malaysia had 11,618 new Covid-19 cases and 118 Covid-19 deaths.

The great difference between India and Malaysia is that the former is on a sharp decline in the  Covid-19 curve for Covid-19 cases while Malaysia is on the upsurge.

India fell from its peak of daily Covid-19 cases of 414,433 cases  on May 6, 2021 to 41,854 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, a phenomenal drop of 90%, while Malaysia established a new peak yesterday with 11,618 cases.

A virologist in Universiti Sains Malaysia has warned that the daily Covid-19 infections could double up to nearly 20,000 a day within the next two weeks, given the number of cases caused by more infectious Delta variant.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah also expects Covid-19 cases to continue increasing over the next fortnight before stabilising, because of variants of concern, such as the Delta strain, which he said had been wreaking havoc in the Klang Valley.

Yesterday, Malaysia with 11,618 new Covid-19 cases, maintained its position as the world’s top 13th country for  daily new Covid-19 cases after Brazil (57,664 cases), Indonesia (54,517), UK (42,302), India (41,854), USA (35,267), Spain (26, 390), Russia (23,827), Iran (23,371), Argentina (19,697), South Africa (17,480), Colombia (17,230) and  Bangladesh (12,383).

With 118 new Covid-19 deaths yesterday, Malaysia is also the world’s top 13th country for daily Covid-19 deaths, after Brazil (1,574 deaths), Indonesia (991), Russia (786), Argentina (610), India (580), Colombia (498), South Africa (453), USA (359),  Mexico (219), Bangladesh (210), Iran (184) and Peru (146).

With cumulative total of 867,567 Covid-19 cases, we are now ranked No. 32 among nations with most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, when eight months ago, we were ranked No. 85 – overtaking 53 countries in the process.

In “Total cases per 1 million population” index for July 13, 2021 in the  Our World in Data website, Malaysia at  26,445 is the highest in Asia, ASEAN and the Pacific – Singapore 10,724, Indonesia 9,562; Myanmar 3,699, Thailand 5,067; Philippines 13,521, Cambodia 3,750, Brunei 644, Vietnam 363, Laos 398, China 64, India 22,424, Japan 6,522, South Korea 3,353, Hong Kong 1,594, Taiwan 642, Australia 1,232 and New Zealand 578.

By any measure, macro and micro, Malaysia is among the world’s worst-performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is shocking that this is a fact which the Cabinet has refused to admit.

Is there any Minister who  dare to deny that we are likely to pass the million mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases by the end of this month and that when Malaysia marks the 58th National Day on August 31, we would have more than 10,000 Covid-19 deaths, not to mention the high rate of suicides in the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Did the Cabinet discuss this shocking prospect, what did the Cabinet decide and what is the government doing about a new strategy to prepare Malaysians to live with the coronavirus?

I waited for the outcome of the Cabinet meeting yesterday, hoping that it would mark a new start and new strategy in the invisible but lethal war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

But there was none – only a short statement after the Cabinet meeting  expressing the unanimous support of the Ministers (including the nine UMNO Ministers) for the Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yassin.

It was a snub for the UMNO President and the UMNO Supreme Council, but it showed that the Cabinet could not rise to the challenge of the existential threat to the nation posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, though they are very capable of  responding to the existential threat to the Cabinet posed by the UMNO President and UMNO Supreme Council.

When will the Cabinet set an example to stop politicking and focus on turning the tides of defeat to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and plan for Malaysia to return to normalcy as is happening in other countries?

Lim Kit Siang

MP for Iskandar Puteri

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