PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today blamed the so-called Sheraton move which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in February for the second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country, saying the movement control order (MCO) could have been avoided if not for the political manoeuvring.
In a statement, the Iskandar Puteri MP said nearly half of the country’s Covid-19 cases could be traced to the Sri Petaling mosque tabligh convention cluster.
The religious gathering involving local and international participants took place between Feb 28 and March 1.
“If not for the ‘Sheraton move’ and the ensuing political turmoil referred to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in his royal address at the one-day Parliament sitting on Monday, Malaysia would not have suffered the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak.
“Our total confirmed Covid-19 cases would be in the mid-3,000s, if not below 3,000 cases, instead of nearly reaching 7,000 cases today.”
He said when Malaysia imposed the MCO on March 18, it had held the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia and the 18th highest in the world.
“Now, we have slipped to 56th in terms of total Covid-19 confirmed cases, and in fact, if not for the second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, we would have ranked above 70 among countries in terms of confirmed Covid-19 cases.”
He said Malaysia should rank behind Thailand which has a population more than double that of Malaysia’s but only 3,033 cases and 56 deaths.
“The cost of the ‘Sheraton move’ and the ensuing political turmoil has been a very heavy one for Malaysia.”
Fortunately, he added, Malaysia did not have to depend on its political leadership to combat the second wave of Covid-19.
“Malaysians have rightly paid tribute to the frontliners who risked their lives and personal safety to bring the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak under control.”
Lim said the government should have presented its Covid-19 exit strategy for the country’s economic recovery during the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday.
“When will the government present to the public its exit plan strategy and blueprint, as experts are now advising that the public will have to learn to live with the coronavirus, as an effective vaccine may take two to five years to be developed and be made widely available?”
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