LETTER | Human lives are not gambling chips

Yow Lop Siaw


LETTER | As if being at the mercy of the Covid-19 pandemic is not enough, Malaysians are also at the mercy of an ever-changing barrage of mind-boggling announcements on its vaccination programme.

Not too long ago, maybe just a couple of weeks ago, the minister in charge of the vaccination programme announced that senior citizens would be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine. 

And we just heard another minister announcing that warga emas would be given the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has either been suspended or discontinued in more than a dozen countries. Together with this latest announcement, the following summarises our vaccination programme and the quality of our political leaders.

Warga emas, as the name implies, is the respected and much-valued category of warga Malaysia, and they should be accorded respect and value accordingly. All warga emas have contributed their efforts in nation-building.

By giving them a problematic vaccine, the government is portraying a wrong value system to the younger generation – that the older generation could be provided with “inferior” quality products or services. It should be the other way around – the best should be given to the elderly.

On this same note, most of the ministers also fall into this warga emas category. Were they or are they being given the same vaccine?

Even if a lot of money has been spent on the purchase of this AstraZeneca vaccine, if it is expected to be problematic, it should not be used and should be discarded. This is similar to having bought some stale food and yet we consume it.

We urge the government to place peoples’ lives as of paramount importance. Not only should the vaccine not be used on senior citizens, but it should also not be used at all. Human lives are not gambling chips.

Khairy Jamaluddin has been tasked with coordinating the whole vaccination programme. Hence, he should be the person making all announcements on it. As it is, we hear different announcements on the same issue. Which one is the valid version? A free-for-all scenario is never a good one.

At the rate the whole vaccination programme is progressing, it would take Malaysia two to three years to achieve its objective. This is far too slow and it is going to hurt all economic activities badly.

Infection spikes will yo-yo endlessly, more fatalities are a certainty, more virus variants would surface, tourism will be long dead by then, and the list goes on.

This vicious cycle would cocoon the country into more misery - more businesses will be closed and more people will be jobless.

We pride ourselves on having an unbelievable number of PhD holders yearly and yet we can’t plan this programme well. What else can we perform well?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.