PETALING JAYA: DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said today there hasn’t been much difference in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic during Khairy Jamaluddin’s first month as health minister – except for a new website.
He said Khairy’s appointment as the new health minister by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was the only Cabinet appointment that was welcomed by everyone as there was expectation that he would effectively lead the nation’s fight against Covid-19 with new policies and strategies.
“However, apart from introducing a new website, there are no signs that Malaysia is out of the woods of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the daily data still showing alarming numbers,” he said in a statement.
For the record, Khairy would have served as health minister for one month only on Sept 30.
Lim said the Covid-19 death rate had been exceptionally high in the past week, to the extent that there were more daily deaths here than in India in the last three days.
“We have lost out to China in both daily new Covid-19 cases and daily deaths. Yesterday we lost out to Indonesia and India in daily Covid-19 deaths. Yesterday, we were the world’s number eight in daily new Covid-19 cases and world’s number four in daily Covid-19 deaths,” he said.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said these were disturbing signs of Malaysia’s capability and competence as a state, adding that Khairy’s top priority should be to restore confidence and trust in the country’s health system.
He said when Khairy was sworn in on Aug 30, Malaysia was ranked number 23 among nations in the world with the most cumulative number of cases.
“Based on the current Covid-19 trend globally, Malaysia will overtake three nations in Khairy Jamaluddin’s first month as health minister to move to the 20th spot among nations in the world by next Friday,” he predicted.
Lim said he had spoken to a medical expert who was tracking Malaysia’s performance in the pandemic and that the expert’s view of the nation’s handling of the pandemic was “not encouraging”.
“He said that among Asean countries, we are performing the worst. As an example, in August, Thailand saw a severe increase in cases to the 20,000 (per day) range like us.
“But within six weeks its numbers are now in the 13,000 to 14,000 range. And this is despite regular street protests there. They also have a larger population and Bangkok’s population density is higher than ours,” he said.
Lim said the expert observed that there had essentially been no difference over the last month, with the number of deaths seeming to have risen sharply, adding that the week also saw inconsistent numbers that made it difficult to make conclusions.
“It is quite obvious that (former prime minister) Muhyiddin Yassin’s target of having all Malaysians vaccinated by October will not be met at the current rate. We are now 55% fully vaccinated and there is only about one more month to go,” he said.
Lim said Khairy needed to get the right feedback and suggestions from experts to draw up new policies and strategies to fight the pandemic effectively.
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