As 2021 Budget was a catastrophe in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 Budget must prove to be otherwise

I got a shock when I opened the Economic Report 2022, the key Budget 2022 paper presented by the Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, to Members of Parliament yesterday.

I could not believe it when I read the first paragraph of the foreword by the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri which said:

“The Covid-19 virus, which began in March 2020, has continued to disrupt lives and livelihoods through waves of new infections globally, necessitating the reinstatement of containment measures to prevent its spread. Malaysia has been no exception. The Government had to declare a temporary state of emergency, followed by a nationwide lockdown in the middle of the year. The objectives of these measures centred around saving the rakyat’s lives and relieving the pressure on our public health system. The enforcement of various control measures such as domestic and international travel restrictions as well as the prohibition of operations for contact-intensive services industries have affected most economic sectors. Consequently, the GDP growth forecast for 2021 was revised downwards to between 3% and 4%.”

Firstly, it is not true that the Covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020. By March 2020, Malaysia was already suffering the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit Malaysia on January 25 and lasted until February 15, 2020. There was no deaths and the cumulative total was 22 cases.

The second wave commenced on February 27 during the Sheraton Move conspiracy which toppled a democratically-elected government and ushered in a backdoor, undemocratic and illegitimate government, and lasted until 30th June 2020 bringing the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases to 8,639 cases and Covid-19 deaths to 164 deaths, with two daily new cases and zero Covid-19 daily deaths.

The third Covid-19 wave was caused by the Muhyiddin’s government attempt to wrest power in Sabah State leading to the Sabah state elections in September (on Sabah Polling Day on Sept. 26, there were 82 daily new cases and zero death), which proved to be one of the longest Covid-19 waves in the world lasting for over a year with no signs of ending.

Secondly, the “temporary state of emergency” from 11th January 2021 to August failed to save Malaysian lives and livelihoods as seen by the grim Covid-19 pandemic statistics – on Jan. 11 there were cumulative totals of 138,224 Covid-19 cases and 555 deaths, which shot exponentially to 2,460,809 Covid-19 cases and 28,832 deaths when Tengku Zafrul presented his 2022 budget in Parliament yesterday.

I am totally at a loss of words how an increase of 2,322,588 cases and 28,277 deaths– an exponential increase of 18 times the number of cases and 52 times the number of Covid-19 deaths – could be described as a success.

Malaysians must not be in denial or suffer from the denial syndrome and dare to face up to the excruciating truth that Malaysia, after being lauded internationally in the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, had for over a year been one of the worst performing nations in the world in the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the acid tests of the 2022 Budget is whether it could end one of the longest Covid-19 waves in the world in Malaysia for over a year. The 2022 must not be a catastrophe like the 2021 Budget in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Saturday, 30th October 2021)

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.