By Lim Kit Siang
Malaysia has a cumulative total of 424,376 Covid-19 cases, overtaking Saudi Arabia which has 422,316 cases, and is now ranked No. 42 among nations in the world with most number of Covid-19 cases.
The country recorded 3,744 new cases yesterday. At this rate of increase, we will reach half a million mark for cumulative total of Covid-19 cases by the end of this month.
This is a world ranking and a world record which Malaysia has nothing to be proud about.
Together with the announcement yesterday by the co-ordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that Phase Three of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) might be delayed beyond its intended kick-off in May, it is a double-whammy for Malaysia’s war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Already the National Covid-19 Immunisation Progamme is too slow and weak, as up to now, less than five percent of the population had been vaccinated (1.8% fully vaccinated while 2.9% given one dose of the vaccine).
Two months ago, I suggested that the National Immunisation Programme should be accelerated so that the national vaccine roll-out for the country to achieve “herd immunity” can be completed by Malaysia Day on September 16, 2021.
Now Khairy’s target to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 in July 2022 – 18 months from February 2021 when the first batch of the vaccine supply arrived – has been pushed further back.
We are losing out in this battle between “vaccine and the virus”, with the coronavirus mutating into new variants and which has caused such devastation in India, where the healthcare system is on breaking point with grim scenes of people dying in hospital corridors, on roads and in their homes and where car parks have been turned into cremation grounds while desperate families scramble to find oxygen, medicines and hospital beds.
Are we going to be a mini-India in ASEAN? India broke another world record yesterday, registering 413,618 new Covid-19 cases, and in the last 15 days since breaking the 300,00-mark for new daily cases on April 21, has accumulated over five million Covid-19 cases.
Why is Malaysia ranked No. 42, having a greater cumulative total of Covid-19 cases while other countries in East Asia, ASEAN and Pacific have lower ranking and fewer cases like Myanmar (ranked No. 82) with 142,874 cases; South Korea (84) 124,945 cases; China (96) 90,721 cases; Thailand (98) 74,900 cases; Singapore (104) 61,268 cases; Australia (120) 29,862 cases; Cambodia (133) 16,971 cases; Hong Kong (145) 11,797 cases; Vietnam (176) 3,022 cases; New Zealand (179) 2,629 cases; Taiwan (192) 1,160 cases; Laos (195) 1,072 cases and Brunei (201) 228 cases?
This is a question which the Muhyiddin government has avoided answer and with Parliament suspended since January 12, 2021, can continue to avoid to answer.
But this has generated an unprecedented gulf in public trust and credibility deficit for the government which no amount of bluff and propaganda can remedy.
Malaysia is suffering at having the worst Prime Minister and the worst government in its 63-year history!
Can Malaysia be saved from the trajectory hurtling towards a kakistocracy?
(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 6th May 2021)
*The views expressed are those of the author
This post first appeared on Lim Kit Siang‘s blog.