Malaysia Dateline

Instead of painting a beautiful picture, Ismail presented a grim picture of Malaysia

The Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri in his special New Year message yesterday, expressed the hope that 2022 will see Malaysia back on track of long-term economic plan.

Ismail Sabri is being very unrealistic.

How can Malaysia be back on track of long-term economic plan in 2022 when it could not return to pre-Emergency days of the Covid-19 pandemic let alone end the 15-month third Covid-19 wave in Malaysia, which has become the longest Covid-19 wave in the world.

Ismail was very careful in referring to the peak of Covid-19 infections when it recorded 24,599 new cases and 393 fatalities on August 26.

Why didn’t he refer to the pre-Emergency day of Covid-19 pandemic, which his government has failed to return to when the daily Covid-19 records were 2,232 new cases and four Covid-19 deaths on January 11, 2021?

We have not been able to record a single day of single-digit Covid-deaths in Ismail Sabri’s more than four months as Prime Minister but Indonesia, which has more than eight times the population of Malaysia, has 19 days in December reported daily single-digit deaths.

Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 3,573 new Covid-19 cases and 25 Covid-19 deaths as compared to 180 new Covid-19 cases and six Covid-19 deaths in Indonesia.

For the whole month of December 2021, Malaysia has 20 times Covid-19 cases and four times Covid-19 deaths than Indonesia, which has more than eight times the population of Malaysia.

These two instances about the failure of Malaysia’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic is cause for a shake-up of the public health service and not undeserving self-praise.

This was one main reason why I supported the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Ismail Sabri and the Pakatan Harapan leaders, for when the country is faced with an existential threat involving millions of Covid-19 cases and tens of thousands of human lives, Malaysians must put their differences aside to protect lives, livelihoods and the national fabrics of Malaysian society.

We have ended the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic but we have not yet won the war against it.

Instead of cumulative totals of five to ten million Covid-19 cases and 100,000 to 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, we have now the cumulative totals at the end of the year of 2.75 million Covid-19 cases and over 31,000 Covid-19 deaths.

We have averted a great catastrophe for Malaysia but the improvement in Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths have been agonisingly slow and appeared to have lost steam and petered out.

I had proposed that the Cabinet should establish a commission of public health experts to study why Malaysia had performed so poorly in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic. Will Ismail Sabri support the proposal?

Instead of painting a beautiful picture about what is in store in 2022, Ismail Sabri should have presented a grim picture of Malaysia’s new year after Malaysia had experienced the worst “annus horribilis” in the nation’s history.

He should have owned up to his mistake in not attending the annual Christmas high tea on Christmas Day which had undermined the meaning and seriousness of his Keluarga Malaysia slogan as a celebration of unity in Malaysia plural diversity of races, languages, religions and cultures.

For the last half a century, we have been trailing other countries in the international race of nations.

We were equals if not better than Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam in international competitiveness, good governance, rule of law, war against corruption and having an effective and efficient government.

But in the last half a century, these nations have overtaken us and forged far ahead.

Even more serious, we are in the trajectory of sluggards if we do not bestir ourselves, as our fate in the coming decades seems to be overtaken in the race of nations by other countries including Indonesia unless Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region unite to achieve our Malaysian Dream to be a world-class great nation.

The single most important challenge for Malaysia today is to reset and regain the trajectory to become a world-class great nation by Malaysia’s Centennial in 2063.

For this reason, I have appealed to the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS), the Islamic Education Development Council (Mappim) and the Confederation of Malaysian Writers Association (Gapena) not to appeal the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision on the constitutionality of Chinese and Tamil primary schools but to provide leadership to undo the half-a-century of national decline losing out to other countries.

Does Ismail Sabri agree with this Malaysian Dream for Malaysia to be a world-class great nation and my appeal to GPMS, Mappim and Gapena not to appeal the KL High Court decision on the constitutionality of Chinese and Tamil primary schools and to provide leadership in the national endeavour undo half-a-century of national decline?
Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Saturday, 1.1.2022.