Kit Siang calls on govt to reopen businesses, adopt ‘Live with Covid’ strategy

(MMO) – Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang has called on policymakers to abandon the National Recovery Plan (NRP) as the country seems certain to break the million-mark for Covid-19 cases by noon today.

The DAP leader said the staggering number of cumulative cases bears the mark of a “dismal failure” of the government’s strategy against the coronavirus pandemic, whose preference for lockdowns has left a trail of destruction on the lives and livelihoods.

“The time has come for the government to distance itself from the NRP announced by the prime minister in a ‘live’ national telecast on June 15 and its blind faith in ‘total lockdowns’ and to open up all businesses in keeping with ‘Live with Covid’ instead of ‘Zero Covid’ objective,” he said.

“The NRP was not the result of a ‘whole-of-society’ consultation and deliberation. It bears the mark of the dismal failure of the strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic,” the DAP leader added.

Total positive cases have reached over 960,000 as daily cases hit a record high of close to 16,000 yesterday. Lim noted Malaysia is set to overtake Pakistan to be ranked 30th among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

Yesterday, Malaysia was the world’s top 11th country in daily new Covid-19 deaths, compared to eight months ago, when it was ranked 85th.

It also beat the United States in daily new Covid-19 deaths, which, despite a population size three times bigger than Malaysia, reported 149 new deaths while Malaysia reported 184 new deaths.

The cumulative total of Covid-19 cases when the Emergency was declared on January 11 this year was 135,992. Lim noted it had increased by more than seven times in six months to 996,393 cases yesterday.

The 551 Covid-19 deaths on January 10, 2021 had increased by more than 14 times to 7,902 deaths yesterday.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government had implemented several movement control orders since May and placed almost the entire country under strict lockdowns beginning June, yet cases have soared to record highs since, prompting public backlash.

Economists have revised Malaysia’s growth forecast downward as the lockdowns are set to dent recovery even as Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has insisted that the economy is on a rebound trajectory.

Muhyiddin recently announced the formation of the National Recovery Council comprising experts from various fields, ostensibly to appease a growingly angry public.

Lim has urged the council to replace the National Recovery Plan with a new strategy and approach.

“The first thing it must do is to replace the National Recovery Plan with a new strategy and approach which is truly a ‘whole-of-society’…and craft a new strategy to enable Malaysians to ‘Live with Covid’ without destroying their livelihoods and the Malaysian economy,” he said.

Lockdowns must only be applied in extreme circumstances and targeted, Lim added.