Guan Eng calls for targeted MCO approach

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Government can be replaced but lives and livelihoods can’t.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today called on the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to use a targeted movement control order (MCO) approach based on science and data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He added in the same statement today that while the government and its leaders can be replaced, the same cannot be said of lives and livelihoods lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bagan MP pointed to The Economist’s ranking on Malaysia, in which the nation was placed last in its global normalcy index of recovery, which is a measurement of how well countries are doing in returning to normalcy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is both a shameful moment and a damning indictment of the failure of the PN government in dealing with the quadruple crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recession, chronic political instability and disintegrating social resilience. And yet, no single minister of the current administration has owned up to their failure or resigned to take responsibility, like India’s health minister recently,” the former finance minister said.

Lim also took a jab at recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, labelling him the “Senior minister in charge of serial failures of MCOs”.

Sayuti Zainudin

“Instead, the senior minister in charge of the serial failures of MCOs is promoted to deputy prime minister. Our health minister continues to reign despite once asking Malaysians to drink warm water to prevent Covid-19. The prime minister clings on to power despite losing his parliamentary majority, his political legitimacy and moral authority. There is neither shame nor public accountability,” Lim added.

He lamented that Malaysia is spiralling downwards with no end in sight with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic management.

“Yesterday, July 9, marked the highest number of daily infections at 9,180 to a cumulative 817,838 cases. The day before on July 8, marked the highest daily death toll at 135. This record daily infections and death toll is in spite of the Emergency Proclamation on January 12 and serial enhanced movement control orders (EMCO), which have abysmally failed to make any impact on controlling Covid-19,” he added.

Lim also criticised the seemingly biased approach in enforcing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) between the elites and regular people, calling it a “whole-of-government failure” in crisis management.

He also alleged the PN government as being lackadaisical in procuring vaccines, lamenting that the delays in its delivery, prevented a swift and smooth vaccination rate.

“The government should stop shifting the blame to the rakyat for not complying with the Covid-19 SOPs but take full responsibility. The prime minister and ministers can be replaced. Only lives and livelihoods are irreplaceable,” he said, questioning if Malaysia would achieve herd immunity via infections rather than vaccination.

Lim said that despite eight economic stimulus packages worth RM530 billion, many Malaysians were still forced to put up the white flags nationwide, in a desperate cry for both food and financial help.

He said that a survey by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives on June 4 showed that more than 90 percent of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) risked closure, while the SME Association of Malaysia disclosed that 100,000 SMEs closed last year with 50,000 more expected to suffer the same fate from the current total lockdown.

“Again, no one claims responsibility for the failure of RM530 billion to pull the economy out of its recession or at least help to save jobs, businesses and economic livelihood over 15 months. The loss of livelihood has also led to loss of human dignity and lives, causing a growing disintegration of social resilience.

“There were 631 suicide cases in 2020 as compared to 609 in 2019, resulting from the loss of livelihood and family problems. For the first five months of 2021, there were 468 suicide cases or an average of more than three suicides a day. These 3.12 suicides per day is nearly double the 1.7 suicides per day in 2019. A significant number of suicides involve Muslims, which were rare previously. Where has the country lost our way until Malaysians are bereft of hope and helpless?” Lim asked.