Malaysia Dateline

Is Malaysia destined to become a failed state?

The Health Director-General, Noor Hashim Abdullah has been proven right with his prognostication this morning that Covid-19 cases will climb in the coming weeks.

This has been confirmed by the Covid-19 figures announced later in the day which reported 6,276 new Covid-19 cases today, which gives a rolling daily average of 5,852 new Covid-19 cases for the past seven days – a long distance from the threshold of less than 4,000 cases for the transition from Phase One to Phase two of the National Recovery Plan, which was supposed to start on July 1.

From the look of things, it is quite dubious that the threshold of less than 4,000 cases could even be reached in early August.

Noor Hisham had this morning shared the current Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) projection where Malaysia’s average cases deviated from the curve plotted for an effective reproduction number (Rt) of 0.95.

Dr Noor Hisham said that the current Rt was 1.04. This number must be below 1.0 for Covid-19 to be suppressed in Malaysia.

Based on the current trajectory of average cases, Malaysia is headed for 6,000 daily cases in the first half of July or the opposite direction needed for the country to exit Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

Thus, in a matter of two weeks, the National Recovery Plan announced by the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has proved to be mere wishful thinking on his part – his building castles in the air.

  • This is why we are in no position to make any progress in the Covid-19 exit plan for the transition from Phase One to Phase Two on July 1 and why there are the following developments which catapult Malaysia to the world’s top worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic:
  • When Muhyiddin was announcing his RM150 billion Pemulih economic package, Bloomberg was broadcasting to the world that Malaysia had fallen 35 places from 16th rank in January 2021 to a catastrophic 51st position in the June 2021 Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking out of 53 economies of more than US$200 billion;
  • Malaysia fell 50 places from the 85th rank on November 18, 2020 among nations in the world with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases to 35th position in 26 weeks;
  • The world’s previous worst performing nations like the United States, India, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Germany recently turning the table on Malaysia and performing better in “daily Covid-19 cases per million population”;
  • These previously worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic like United States, India, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Germany in recent times doing better than Malaysia in the category of ‘deaths per million population”; and
  • Malaysia losing out to China in having more cumulative total of Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths, although China has 44 times the population of Malaysia.

I commend the Senate President Rais Yatim and the Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun for taking a stand that Parliament should be convened before the end of emergency on August 1.

The founding fathers of the nation never intended the Executive to have emergency powers to suspend Parliament, as evident from the original Article 150 of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution which states:

“A Proclamation of Emergency and any ordinance promulgated shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and, if not sooner revoked, shall cease to be in force –

(a) A Proclamation at the expiration of a period of two months beginning with the date on which it was issued;

(b) An ordinance at the expiration of a period of fifteen days beginning with the date on which both Houses are first sitting, unless, before the expiration of that period, it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.”

It is pathetic that the Prime Minister needs to be convinced to uphold the word and spirit of the Malaysian Constitution, and equally pathetic that the Attorney-General has been unable to advise to the Prime Minister to do so.

What is even more shocking is that there are voices defending the strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic, when it is obvious and elementary that it had been a dismal failure.

I had stressed many times that the preconditions for a winning strategy in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic must include the following:

  • Restore public trust and confidence in the national strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic. The reason the National Recovery Plan and the RM150 billion Pemulih economic package are not game-changers in the war against Covid-19 pandemic are because of the deficit in public trust and confidence.
  • An “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against Covid-19, which had been noticeably absent in the 18-month Covid-19 pandemic.
  • “War mentality” by all Malaysians to unite to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, based on a political moratorium with a single-minded focus by all in Malaysia, including the Executive, Parliament and all sectors of society that the only national priority is to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and all other considerations must be subordinated to this objective.
  • Unite all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and no extremist, intolerant and toxic politics of race or religion.
  • Removal of factors which detract from winning the war against Covid-19 pandemic.

There must be a new start in the war against Covid-19 pandemic where all political and other differences are temporarily put aside so that the country can win the war against the coronavirus to save lives, livelihoods and the country’s economic future.

I have called for a one or two years of political moratorium and a “Win the War Against Covid-19 Pandemic” (WACOP) coalition to save the country from the devastation in lives, economic losses and societal damages of the pandemic.

We must find the political will and ingenuity to remove all factors which undermine the national objective to reverse the tides of defeat and win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Otherwise, there is only one outcome – Malaysia becoming a failed state unable to replace a failed strategy with a winning plan in the war against Covid-19 pandemic!
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Media Statement(3) by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, June 30, 2021.