Rafidah Tells Putrajaya: Think Before Announcing Measures

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Former minister Rafidah Aziz has urged Putrajaya’s decision-makers to be “more pre-emptive” in their approach to control the Covid-19 pandemic after several notable flubs in the implementation of the movement control order in the last two days.

She slammed the government’s sudden announcements “that came with little or no details, options or guidance” and pointed to how the government had steered the country through the 1997 Asian financial crisis as an example to emulate.

“Before making and announcing any decision, especially one affecting or all sectors of the public, detailed deliberations should be undertaken on every possible aspect of the decision,” she said in a Facebook post today.

“The implementation processes (has) to be laid out in detail and clearly,” said the Bersatu member.

Rafidah said the government must first consider the aims of the policy and who it targets and allow enough time for the policy to be properly and effectively implemented, after which it should conduct follow-up checks to determine if it is effective.

“Most importantly, being pre-emptive means to think ahead with options already in place to enable changes and fine-tuning as and when necessary.

Azlina Abdullah/The Star

“The last thing people need is a sudden announcement which has wide-ranging implications that result in confusion and even greater damage.”

She said during the 1997 financial crisis, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad held daily meetings at 5pm with a small task force, of which she was a member.

“During the day, the task force members addressed the problems in our respective portfolios… having dialogues and getting feedback from the stakeholders.

“We gathered all that daily information and worked out the remedial measures and effective support initiatives from the government, to be decided by the PM and the task force.

“This was the de rigueur (obligatory) routine until the derailed economy was back on the right track.”

She said although this present crisis was a pandemic, the same discipline and approaches were still valid: “There is no need for everyone to go on air, wasting public funds when nothing substantial is being said.”

“Public messaging is about convincing people that the government is credible, able and is in control of the crisis so that the public feel committed to assume their own roles and responsibilities to complement those of the government.

“No matter which door this government crashed through, it now has the responsibility to govern during a pandemic. Please do govern. Forget politics. Forget trying to score political brownie points.

“Govern for all of us Malaysians and all the stakeholders in Malaysia. May the Almighty save Malaysia and all of us.”

Malaysia has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases in the past week with a total 900 cases and two deaths, as of today. The rise is largely attributed to a cluster of 14,500 locals who attended a four-day tabligh programme at the Sri Petaling mosque on February 27.

So far, about 10,500 of the 14,500 participants have been tested for Covid-19. – TMI