Congrats to Ismail Sabri on becoming the 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia

Congratulations to Ismail Sabri on becoming the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He would be the Prime Minister whom Malaysians have the least expectation of success and, paradoxically, he should use such “least expectation” to make history by making a success of his premiership for the intervening period until the 15th General Election by ensuring:

Firstly, the end to the carnage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has to date claimed 13,936 lives and to gain control of the Covid-19 pandemic which had been on a runaway scenario since July12, when we first recorded five-digit daily new Covid-19 cases.

Ismail Sabri’s first task is to end Malaysia’s daily new Covid-19 deaths in three-digit figures and then in double-digit figures and to end daily new Covid-19 cases in five-digit figures and then in four-digit figures.

We must stop setting new dubious records in the Covid-19 pandemic – like breaking the 14,000-mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 deaths today; breaking the 1.6 million mark for cumulative total for Covid-19 cases tomorrow or day after; overtaking Chile next Thursday and be ranked No. 24 among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases; and marking the 64th National Day on August 31 with three dubious records: (i) nearly 16,000 Covid-19 deaths; (ii) over 1.7 million Covid-19 cases; and (iii) overtaking yet another country – the Czech Republic – to be ranked No. 23 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

We are in race against time mwith the Delta and other variants. Although 38% of the Malaysian adult population is fully vaccinated, we must be conscious that vaccination is not the silver bullet to the Covid-19 pandemic as shown by Israel.

Although Israel is the first country on earth to fully vaccinate a majority of its citizens against Covid-19, it is now experiencing one of the world’s highest daily infection rates. Among the reasons are that immunity from the vaccine dips over time and that the Delta variant breaks through the vaccine’s waning protection.

The good news is that among Israel’s serious infections, the Israeli Health Ministry data shows that the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people over age 60 was nine times more than the rate among fully vaccinated people of the same age category, and the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people in the under-60 crowd was a little more than double the rate among vaccinated people in that age bracket.

One lesson from Israel is that vaccinations are key but they are not enough – even for Israel, where 78% of eligible Israelis over 12 years old are vaccinated.

Israel is the first country to offer a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine in a nationwide booster campaign. Preliminary research in Israel suggests booster shots significantly increase protection against the coronavirus a week after a person receives the third dose.

Ismail’s second task is to end the political crisis by initiating meaningful parliamentary, institutional and policy reforms, with the setting up of parliamentary select committees for every Ministry to play parliamentary “check-and-balance” role.

The third task for Ismail is to lay the basis for Malaysia to recover economically to become one of the stars on the global firmament.

Finally, the fourth task is for Ismail to be Prime Minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region and politics and re-ignite the hope and confidence about the importance of unity among Malaysians and that the Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to be a world-class great nation is not a lost dream.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, August 22, 2021)

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