#kerajaangagal202 – Time for government to distance itself from the National Recovery Plan and its blind faith with “total lockdowns” and to open up all businesses in keeping with “Live with Covid” instead of a “Zero Covid” objective where targetted lockdowns are resorted to only in extreme circumstances

The time has come for the government to distance itself from the National Recovery Plan announced by the Prime Minister in a live national telecast on June 15 and its blind faith in “total lockdowns” and to open up all businesses in keeping with “Live with Covid” instead of “Zero Covid” objective and where targeted lockdowns are resorted to only in extreme circumstances.

The National Recovery Plan was not the result of a “whole-of-society” consultation and deliberation. It bears the mark of the dismal failure of the strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, whether the six-month emergency or the various forms of lockdowns including “total lockdowns”.

The cumulative total of 135,992 Covid-19 cases when Emergency was declared on January 11, 2021 had increased by more than seven times in six months to 980,491 yesterday while the 551 Covid-19 deaths on January 10, 2021 had increased 14 times to 7,718 deaths yesterday.

Tomorrow will be Malaysia’s Day of Shame for we will break the million-mark for Covid-19 cases and overtake Pakistan to be ranked No. 30 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – when we were ranked No. 85 in November last year.

What type of an emergency to combat the Covid-19 pandemic is this?

I would like to hear the Prime Minister or any Minister to claim in Parliament next week that the six-month emergency was a great success in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, for he or she should be booed out of Parliament as he or she would be worse than the Emperor with no clothes.

This is why the National Recovery Plan was unable to make the transition from Phase One to Phase Two at the end of June, and why there is consternation among health experts over the “haste” of the Deputy Prime Minister Sabri Yaakob in declaring that the country could move into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan because of the improved vaccination rate.

But vaccination rate is only one of three conditions for the country to move from one Phase to another, the other being the threshold of average daily Covid-19 cases below 4,000 and the healthcare system no longer at a critical stage.

In both these two thresholds, we are worse today than when the National Recovery Plan was announced on June 15, when we had 5,419 cases but yesterday we had 15,573 cases – very far from the below-4,000 threshold!

As for the healthcare system no longer in a critical stage, how can anyone in government deny that the public health care system in Malaysia is on the verge of breakdown – and I hope the government is taking action to ensure that the oxygen crisis that crippled the healthcare system in India will not come to Malaysia.

Prof Moy Fong Ming of Universiti Malaya’s Social and Preventive Medicine Department has said banking solely on the vaccination rate and ignoring other data on Covid-19’s spread may lead to a new wave of infections that will be even more difficult to deal with, especially when the Delta variant is causing havoc in South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.

A National Recovery Council has been established, and if this Council is to be useful, the first thing it must do is to replace the National Recovery Plan with a new strategy and approach which is truly “whole-of-society” and which crafts a strategy to enable Malaysia to “Live with Covid” without destroying the livelihoods of Malaysians and the Malaysian economy.

We must learn from the successes and failures in other countries – for instance, the example of United Kingdom which declared last Monday as “Freedom Day” by removing all Covid-19 restrictions, which is regarded as overhasty and reckless by health experts.

We must take a more cautious approach which allows the re-opening of all businesses but where targeted lockdowns are only be resorted to in extreme circumstances.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang after visiting the Vaccination Centre at Nusantara, Iskandar Puteri on Saturday, 24th July 2021 at 11.30 a.m)

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