It’s the height of international humiliation when the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was announcing the RM150 billion PEMULIH package on live national telecast, Bloomberg was broadcasting to the world that Malaysia has fallen to a catastrophic 51st position in the June 2021 Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking out of 53 economies of more than US$200 billion.
After five months of emergency and 28 days of total lockdowns, we have fallen 35 rungs to the 51st rank in the June 2021 Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking.
Now we are even worse than Brazil, Peru, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Colombia, Indonesia and India and only better than Philippines and Argentina.
Even more shocking, the top ten countries are headed by United States, which for more than year has been regarded as the worst nation in the Covid-19 pandemic with a cumulative total of 34.5 million Covid-19 cases and 619,582 Covid-19 deaths, followed by New Zealand (2), Switzerland (3), Israel (4), France (5), Spain (6), Australia (7), China (8), United Kingdom (9) and South Korea (10).
Other Asian countries ranked are Singapore (13), Japan (23), Hong Kong (30), Thailand (39), Vietnam (40), and Taiwan (44).
As Bloomberg said: “Almost a year and a half into the pandemic, the best and worst places to be in the Covid-19 era are increasingly defined by one thing: normalization.
“The biggest vaccination drive in history is enabling parts of the globe to abolish mask mandates, relax restrictions and dismantle border curbs, making the magnitude of reopening key to quality of life. Taming cases and deaths was once paramount, along with ensuring a robust health-care system. Now, the ability to essentially turn back the clock and return to pre-pandemic times is taking on an even greater significance.
It’s the height of international humiliation when Muhyiddin was announcing RM150 billion Pemulih package on live telecast, Bloomberg was broadcasting to the world that
“Central to that is an economy’s openness to the world, and that’s why we’ve introduced a new element—Reopening Progress—to Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking. Two new metrics capture the ease of moving in and out of a place and how much air travel has recovered, alongside our 10 other measures tracking mortality rates to infection counts, freedom of movement to economic growth.”
We are among the top nations in the world in two matters: Covid-19 cases per million of population and number of Cabinet Ministers per million of population – and the pernicious correlation of these two measures have landed Malaysia in a most unenviable position.
Yesterday, we passed the 5,000-mark for Covid-19 deaths when for the whole of last year, 471 people died of Covid-19.
Where can Mahiaddin hide his face in the international arena?
Will Mahiaddin’s RM150 billion Pemulih package be the silver bullet to end the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia and put the country on the road to recovery?
Even Muhyiddih does not believe so, as the daily number of new Covid-19 cases had not fallen below 4,464 cases since 17th May, although there had been a sharp drop in testings.
Two economists, Dr. Paolo Casadio and Dr. Geoffrey Williams have grave reservations, as they believe that apart from RM150 billion being “a headline-grabbing figure”, the direct injections from the government are only around 6.7% of the headline figure as more than half of it are funded by the people themselves. Or to use their own words, “the rakyat are paying out of their own pockets for the lockdowns”.
The old strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic has failed and it is time for both the Executive and Parliament to craft a new and effective Covid-19 strategy to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is why the Cabinet tomorrow should rise up to the occasion to resolve to convene Parliament before August 1 to spearhead a “Win the War of Covid-19 Pandemic” coalition.
Malaysia deserves no less.
Lim Kit Siang
MP for Iskandar Puteri