#kerajaangagal196 – The refusal to replace the National Recovery Plan is why Malaysia has become one of the world’s worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the government will not revise its criteria for the various phases of the National Recovery Plan even as Terengganu, which is in Phase 2, recorded the highest infection rate.

Ismail Sabri said the government will maintain the existing main criteria, namely the number of daily infections recorded, the ICU capacity of the particular state, and the rate of vaccination because the Covid-19 pandemic is “dynamic”.

Ismail Sabri has unintentionally highlighted the major weakness of the government’s response to the 18-month long Covid-19 pandemic – the pandemic is “dynamic” while the Muhyiddin government’s response is not!

How can the Covid-19 National Recovery Plan be dynamic when Covid-19 toll rate is not one of its main criteria?

The refusal to replace the National Recovery Plan is why Malaysia has become one of the world’s worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the National Recovery Plan was unveiled by the Prime Minister in a live national telecast on June 15, there were 101 new Covid-19 deaths that day and the cumulative total was 4,069 Covid-19 deaths. Yesterday, a new daily peak of Covid-19 deaths of 199 was recorded, with the cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths reaching 7,440. But Covid-19’s fatality rate is never considered as one of the main criteria for the National Recovery Plan.

The lack of agility and nimbleness in National Recovery Plan came to immediate light – the inability to transition from Phase One to Phase two at the end of June because of increasing infections. But what about increasing Covid-19 deaths?

As a result, we have to find ways to go around the National Recovery Plan by allowing states to make the transition from one phase to another.

But immediate problems arise when states which subsequently face high infection rate, like Terengganu, which is in Phase 2 but recorded the highest infection rate in the country at 1.31, while densely populated Selangor in Phase One is 1.12. The national average, according to the Ministry of Health is, 1.12 as of July 20.

Experts have urged the government to do away with the “bunker mentality” of enforcing lockdowns to curb the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections, which have seen the country with a five-figure infection for the last nine consecutive days despite the strict movement controls imposed since June.

But the biggest indictment of the failure of the government war against Covid-19 pandemic was the formation of the new civil society coalition, the Health Emergency Action Plan (HEAP), calling for a truly “whole-of-society” strategy to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

HEAP produced a “Roadmap to Recovery from Covid-19” which stressed three guiding principles:

1. Trust is crucial to fighting the pandemic and this is based on transparency

2.There must be an all-of-society approach

3.Need for a set of solutions that are not lockdown-based.

The question is whether the Muhyiddin government is listening and would draft a new strategy and approach to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control in a “Live with Covid” instead of a “Zero Covid” approach.

(Media Statement (3) by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 22nd July , 2021)

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