Malaysia Dateline

Will PN accept DAP’s science-based approach to the pandemic?

DAP has released a comprehensive Covid-19 strategy plan that covers all areas of managing the pandemic, from containing the virus right down to how the federal government can stimulate the economy.

The strategies outlined by DAP are not only backed by independent public health experts but are also aligned to the latest Covid-19 management strategies that are being adopted by other countries.

The paper, titled “Gearing Malaysia Towards Living With Covid-19”, is broken up into four sections which encompasses containing the current infections, preparing for possible future outbreaks, opening up the economy safely and doing research into mid term strategies.

DAP has stated that the record breaking Covid-19 cases and daily deaths represents an irrefutable and damning testament of a government who has failed miserably in reigning the pandemic under control.

“DAP takes no pleasure in making these assertions against the PN government as ultimately it is the rakyat who are suffering from the crippling economic lockdowns and worsening pandemic” the DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said in his press release.

The Bagan MP said there was a need for a paradigm shift as it was now clear that any attempts to eradicate the virus altogether will be an act of futility.

This is aligned to what many world class immunologists have been predicting since the start of the year.

The virus it seems will become endemic, meaning that it will continue to circulate in the global population without an end in sight.

Take malaria for example. It is estimated that around half the world’s population live in areas where they are at risk of the infection.

This is why most travelers who enter countries like Haiti, where there is a high risk of contracting malaria will take prescriptive medication as a preventative measure.

DAP’s first suggestion is to manage the current rates of infection which they suggest can be done with a stringent national testing strategy to “find, test, trace, isolate, support plus vaccination”, or FTTIS+ in short.

Rapid isolation of cases and quarantine of close contacts through tracing is extremely critical at this point as our healthcare system is stretched beyond it’s capacity.

No surprise

DAP suggests that testing in general should be subsidized by the government, to encourage more frequent testing by the individual hopefully leading to faster detection of the virus.

The party also called for more resources to be allocated towards the healthcare system so that the country can expand its ICU capacity, procure and distribute medical equipment faster and increase hospital frontline staff.

The paper also looks at the economic side of the pandemic and tries to strike a balance between safety and opening up economic activities.

Some of the suggestions to invigorate the economy include allowing certain sectors to reopen with the implementation of strict SOPs or whether 80% or more of employees have been fully vaccinated.

Other proposals include loosening the restrictions on fully vaccinated Malaysians to travel to low-risk countries such as Singapore and Australia.

DAP is also calling for a RM45 billion recovery and stimulus plan which would allocate at least RM4 billion to the Ministry of Health, RM30 billion in financial grants and subsidies, RM6 billion in hiring incentives and RM5 billion for households.

The policy proposals by DAP comes as no surprise as the party has been extremely proactive in offering their assistance to the struggling federal government to combat the pandemic from the very start.

However the question still remains whether the federal government is willing to accept advice from one of their strongest critics, or will pride and ego stand in the way of a collaborative effort to save the country.