Since the first appearance of COVID-19 in Malaysia on January 25, 2020 (and the first confirmed case on February 3, 2020), the number of confirmed cases nationwide has reached 485,496. This year on May 19, the highest number of confirmed cases in a single day was 6,075 and a total number of deaths was 1,994 – a worrying situation for all.
In the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, our government promptly implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO 1.0) from March 18 to May 3, 2020, in hopes that effective social distancing will slow the spread of the virus and successfully break the chain of infections. On July 1, 2020, only 1 new case was confirmed.
The subsequent developments of MCO 2.0 and 3.0 have backfired. On May 18, there were no more green zones in Peninsular Malaysia. This is the 2nd time on record the whole peninsula has fallen into the red zone.
According to data from the Ministry of Health (MOH), 10,081,015 people in our country have registered for the vaccine as of May 13 – about one-third of the total population. However, the vaccination plan has been slow, and only about 1.18 million people (about 3% of the total population) have been given the first dose of the vaccine. For senior citizens over the age of 60 – who are considered to be on the 2nd phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) – are at high risk of contracting the virus, and many have yet to receive their vaccination notifications.
The government previously hoped that 80% of the population (approx. 26 million people) would receive both doses of the vaccine by February 2022. However, the government has repeatedly added changes to the vaccination programme. This resulted in more people losing confidence in the COVID-19 prevention measures, refusing to vaccinate under the fearful notion of the vaccine side-effects. Within these circumstances, it is now considered a fantasy to achieve the national vaccination target by early 2022.
The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) believes that the current government is unable to propose and implement a consistent and effective COVID-19 action plan.
Supposedly effective vaccination plans in breaking the COVID-19 chain is badly implemented and widely received as less than satisfactory. Similar vaccination plans of countries such as Singapore and Australia are better implemented as compared to Malaysia. The disruption of routine vaccinations has left Malaysia far behind in the race against the pandemic.
The government’s inability to fight the pandemic has set off a fuse resulting in the country’s daily surge of thousands, as well as cases of ICU beds unable to accommodate patients.
KLSCAH believes that the two major figures leading the country’s fight against the pandemic, namely the Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and the Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham, shall take responsibility for the country’s current high numbers. If there are no substantial and effective COVID prevention measures, we urge that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin should act decisively and reorganise for an effective COVID prevention team.
In terms of vaccination plans, Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) – who is mainly in charge – should readjust the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP).
Although the opening of the voluntary AstraZeneca vaccination programme has achieved some results, we highly recommend an enforcement plan of vaccination as mandatory, and full disclosure of government vaccination plan and timetables. This will then allow citizens who have registered to make appointments as soon as possible and get vaccinated earlier.