LETTER | I thought Dr Mahathir Mohamad was only politically isolated until I read his advice against home quarantine of Covid-19 patients. It seems even on the questions of isolation, Mahathir's views can be amusing.
Now, after one of his family members was infected with Covid-19 and told to home quarantine, Mahathir advises the government to consider mandating home quarantine for low-risk Covid-19 patients.
Mahathir wrote in his blog: "However, if an infected person is at home, the family members will be infected. Then more people will be infected. They (Covid-19 positive patients) should be quarantined away from family members."
Now here we have a billionaire family living in a huge mansion worried about other family members being infected when he has such a huge social space and place and multiple washrooms to comfortably observe social distancing.
Now imagine the faith of those staying in the low-cost and PPR units, those staying in crowded areas. In fact, Mahathir’s family and his contacts should be able to help these poor people infected by Covid-19 with some alternative place to stay and observe social distancing as well.
When Mahathir was the prime minister, he never had a desire to see the working class live a decent life. Even critical laws like the Minimum Wage Act, and retrenchment benefits, only saw the light of day when he was not in office. I am sure he would have also protested against better housing facilities for workers' quarters as this would cut into the profits of the employers.
Mahathir also created the two-tiered health system and introduced the mushrooming of private hospitals in the country. As a result, the quality of public health care was seriously compromised. Funding for public health care also took a toll. What is even more sickening is that most of our huge private hospitals are government-linked companies (GLCs) where the government hold majority shares, which means it should have been much easier to get them to join the fight against Covid-19.
Today, the government behind closed doors is pleading with these private hospitals to come on board to fight Covid-19. The process is happening but not as smooth. It is no secret that the private sector was initially reluctant to take in Covid-19 patients as it will impact on their profits and since now that they have no choice, they are seeing how they can profit from these same Covid-19 patients. That is the ABC of private health care and thank you Tun for being the brainchild behind this.
Yes, Tun, I saw your tweet: "Saturday, January 23 - I'm at home." Stay safe and wishing your family members a speedy recovery. Sorry that our health system is too overwhelmed to take everyone in.
S ARUTCHELVAN is the deputy chairperson of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).
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