Malaysia Dateline

PN’s failure to implement FTTIS has further exacerbated Malaysia’s Covid-19 situation

Malaysia has been in a state of Emergency for the past six months since January this year. Five months later on 1st June, the PN government placed the whole nation under a total lockdown.

Yet, despite these drastic and disruptive measures, the Covid-19 situation in our country has instead spun out of control. While Malaysians have been distressed by how daily cases have seen such a rapid spike, the truth is that these daily numbers do not even accurately reflect the reality on the ground.

Put simply, the PN government has not been testing enough. In fact, doctors and health experts have long been voicing their concern that the actual number of cases is far higher than what MOH has been reporting.

Our daily positive percentage has also been climbing up steadily, indicating that there are far more infected people out there and that the situation is far worse than what PN has been telling us.

At the rate we’re going, we’re walking right into the arms of a fifth wave, which would be even deadlier compared to the current wave. That, or we are already in the midst of a fifth wave but just aren’t aware of it yet due to a severe lack of transparency, accountability, and information.

What’s heartbreaking is that all this could have either been prevented or mitigated from the beginning if only PN had chosen to act upon sound advice and follow through.

The Pakatan Harapan Health Committee stated in a recent press statement that various quarters have repeatedly flagged PN’s failure to implement WHO’s rapid response FTTIS system (Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support).

If only PN had ramped up testing, carried out rapid contact tracing, and speedily isolated Covid positive individuals, these measures would have actually made a difference in reducing the spread of the virus. In addition, we would also have been able to reduce our over-reliance on lockdowns or made them as short as possible.

However, not only has PN failed to implement FTTIS, some of the indicators utilized by MOH actually run counter to the benchmark set by WHO, notably the Positive Rate.

Very specific recommendations and Key Performance Indicators of the FTTIS have actually been forwarded to MOH. Sadly, they have adamantly refused to reform their policy and it has been business as usual in the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC).

What’s worse is that even if PN and MOH had a sudden change of heart now, it might be already too late to follow the recommended FTTIS system.

Professor Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, a public health expert, believes that FTTIS can no longer apply to the Klang Valley as the surge of Covid-19 cases has overwhelmed the region’s healthcare system. “We assume the majority of people have been exposed.”

Furthermore, he also estimates that the actual number of daily new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia could be between 28,000 and 35,000, or four to five times more than official reports.

All of PN’s abject failures this past 1.5 years have led us to where we are at today – an increasingly sick nation, and a healthcare system on the verge of collapse. Malaysia is paying a dear price for PN’s folly. Whether or not we fully recover is completely up to those in the corridors of power. Will they do what is right for the sake of this nation?