MP SPEAKS | I was shocked and dumbfounded to read the Malaysiakini report on what Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa had said at the HarakahDaily forum on the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it is an indicator that the government has succeeded in managing the pandemic when the people are no longer afraid of Covid-19.
Annuar said: "We are having a problem where the people are not afraid of Covid-19. So when the people are not scared, it means that some think this is not an outbreak.”
He continued: "To me, this is an indication that we have successfully controlled this outbreak, that it is no longer being considered as such by some people. That shows success."
Annuar asked the audience to compare the situation in Malaysia with other countries, especially those which are far superior in terms of technology and medical advancement.
Citing several examples, he said the US to date has recorded close to 35 million positive cases, including 615,232 deaths, while the UK recorded over 4.5 million cases with 127,000 deaths.
This, according to Annuar, is another indication that Malaysia has been doing relatively well compared to other countries.
He also said the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is another point to weigh.
Annuar said: "How can people say that we failed? Now, every four days, a million people are being given free vaccination shots.
"Is that a sign that we have failed?"
We have a most fantastic cabinet – ministers who could see success in failure! Two words keep coming to my mind when I read this report: kakistocracy and dystopia.
Is Annuar a typical example of the Muhyiddin Yassin cabinet, which regards the emergency proclamation on Jan 12, 2021, to combat the Covid-19 epidemic as a great success instead of a dismal failure?
How many ministers in Muhyiddin’s bloated cabinet think like Annuar – that the government is winning the war against the Covid-19 pandemic when, actually, we are losing it?
Malaysia will never win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic if Annuar’s attitude represents the mentality of the Muhyiddin government in the war against the pandemic.
It is most absurd and shocking that we have a government that seems to regard the abysmal failure of the emergency proclamation as a weapon against the Covid-19 pandemic and a communication policy and strategy to educate the people about the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic as a great success.
No wonder the country is in such deep trouble!
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is worrying himself to death about the high rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths; and that the public health, hospital and ICU systems are on breaking-point as a result of the deluge of Covid-19 cases – but this is not reflected by the concerns of the political leadership in government, as reflected by Annuar’s comments at the HarakahDaily forum.
Going by Annuar’s mentality and logic, Malaysians should celebrate that we have beaten China, with 44 times Malaysia’s population, not only in the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases but in total Covid-19 deaths. As of yesterday, China reported 91,669 Covid-19 cases and 4,636 deaths as against Malaysia’s 716,847 Covid-19 cases and 4,721 deaths.
Going by Annuar’s logic, we have further cause to celebrate, for yesterday, we set another record in our worsening Covid-19 situation when we overtook Serbia to be ranked No 36 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
We are likely to overtake Jordan by the end of June or early July to be ranked No 35 when we were ranked No 85 on Nov 11, 2020, among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
Annuar’s statistics for the United States and the United Kingdom are correct for the past 18 months, except he has not taken into account the recent developments where both United States and the United Kingdom have seen sharp drops in Covid-19 cases and deaths, while in Malaysia, the reverse is taking place.
In the past week, from June 16 to 23 for example, the United States had 83,203 new Covid-19 cases and 2,113 deaths, the UK had 79,480 new Covid-19 cases and 101 deaths as compared with 37,980 new Covid-19 cases and 495 deaths in Malaysia.
Should Malaysia celebrate when in the Our World in Data category of “Biweekly cases per million population”, Malaysia’s score is 2,382.59 - way ahead of United States (507.24) and United Kingdom (1,948.74)?
What is most worrying is, how can Malaysia win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic when we have ministers like Annuar in the Muhyiddin’ cabinet?
In any country with a decent, competent and responsible cabinet, Annuar would have been given the sack immediately.
Malaysia needs a “Win the War Against Covid-19 Pandemic” coalition government to save the country from the devastation in lives, economic losses and societal damages of the pandemic.
There should be no place in the “Win the War against Covid-19 Pandemic” cabinet for naysayers like Annuar who could see a victory when Malaysia is fighting a losing battle against Covid-19!
LIM KIT SIANG is a DAP veteran and the party's MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.