PETALING JAYA: Dr Jemilah Mahmood’s statement calling Malaysia’s lack of mass testing as the weakest link in its pandemic management strategy is proof that former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin didn’t listen to her when she was his adviser, says a former health minister.
Dzulkefly Ahmad took to Twitter to respond to Jemilah’s statement made during her interview with a local health publication.
“It is one thing if our recommendations from the Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 were not heard, but Tan Sri Dr Jemilah’s revelation is evidence that PM-8 (Muhyiddin) did not listen to his adviser.”
However, Jemilah responded by saying matters on FTTIS (find, test, trace, isolate and support) should not be politicised.
“FTTIS is already in the process of being improved. Not all countries, including ones in the west, have a good system in place and I am confident (ours) will be strengthened further,” she said, expressing hope that everyone could work together against Covid-19.
Mass Covid-19 testing has been called for by numerous quarters throughout the third wave of the pandemic, which Muhyiddin presided over until his resignation last week.
Over the last month and amid rising daily cases, more than 10% of all tests administered have returned positive, well above the World Health Organization’s 5% maximum threshold and suggestive of undetected cases in the community.
“Can (Muhyiddin) claim to have done his best?” Dzulkefly posed, referring to Jemilah’s statement on poor testing rates.
“The question is: Will PM-9 (Ismail Sabri Yaakob), who was previously deputy prime minister, continue doing what PM-8 did?”
In the interview, Jemilah had said that as economies begin to reopen, a more robust testing, tracing, isolation and support plan must be put in place to stave off smaller outbreaks.
This would be particularly important as the country shifts towards mitigation of the virus’ impact rather than total containment, and would allow health authorities to reintroduce containment strategies only when needed and in a targeted manner.