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MP SPEAKS | PM should show leadership, deliver vaccines and financial aid

MP SPEAKS | DAP is disappointed with the latest tightened movement control order (MCO) for failing to address the three principal issues of early delivery of vaccines, an economic stimulus package to revive the economy, and financial aid to save jobs and businesses, as well as effective enforcement of the MCO restrictions.

The people are fed up with the loss of direction and lack of leadership following Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement that the tightened MCO will be implemented in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan beginning May 25 until June 7.

Unless the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government can assure the public there are no double-standards in enforcing MCO restrictions between VIPs and the ordinary rakyat, no policy flip-flops or Covid-19 SOP U-turns, no more delays and divided authority as to who is in charge, and that competent professionals will make decisions, the latest tightened MCO will be a repetition of the previous serial tightening and relaxation of MCOs. Even an emergency proclamation and the suspension of Parliament did not reduce but increased the number of Covid-19 cases.

In a Berita Harian report on Feb 26, 2021, Health Ministry Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah projected daily Covid-19 cases to be reduced to two digits. Instead, Malaysia's daily infections exceeded 6,000 cases for four straight days to a total of 505,115, making Malaysia the worst nation in Asia Pacific in per capita terms and the highest daily infections in Asean, exceeding even Indonesia.

With deaths nearing 2,200, Noor Hisham is pleading with Malaysians to wear double masks and observe a two-week "self-lockdown". The death toll will rise, with intensive care units (ICUs) at public hospitals nationwide now at 91 percent capacity, while those in the Klang Valley are at an average overcapacity of 113 percent.

What the people really need are vaccines and financial aid. There must be a reset in government administration and service delivery to ensure the early arrival of vaccines and financial aid that reaches the rakyat.

RM627 billion has been spent since last year to fight Covid-19 and lift the economy out of recession, which has been totally ineffective and a complete failure. Malaysians are asking why they cannot feel the benefit of RM627 billion or nearly RM21,000 for each of the 30 million citizens.

Worse is that delivery of one of the main portions of the vaccines has been delayed from June to July. This reset is an opportunity for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to show some leadership, take responsibility for mismanaging the public health crisis, provide direction for the country, and stop passing the buck to his ministers.

LIM GUAN ENG is DAP secretary-general, Bagan MP, and a former finance minister.

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

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