PETALING JAYA: Former health ministers from both sides of the political divide are among those in a group calling on Malaysians to unite in facing the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pic), the former health minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration and Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who served under Barisan Nasional government, signed the statement which warned that the disease "will not respect ethnic, religious or political boundaries".
"Although measures to contain Covid-19 would invariably separate us physically to prevent (its) spread, we call on all quarters across all sectors and all affiliations to 'come together' in unity urgently to address Covid-19, for Malaysia's sake," said a letter issued by the group on Friday (March 6).
Although the number of deaths and new cases of the virus in China appear to be stabilising, the group noted that the nation and several other countries are now experiencing local transmissions.
"The Health Ministry has responded with utmost professionalism in handling these cases and deserves the kudos given by health professionals and global authorities.
"However, a major outbreak of Covid-19 will require balanced and coordinated responses beyond the Health Ministry (the entire government) and beyond the government (society at large), that is, Malaysia has to act together," the letter read.
The group also said that it was critical for the public to be informed on where and how to seek help if needed.
The move was initiated by Malaysian doctors Dr Yap Wei Aun from Petaling Jaya and Dr Khor Swee Kheng in Oxford, Britain.
A total of 42 civil society organisations and individuals representing community and religious leaders, health professionals, academia, NGOs, employers, employees, consumers, and the tourism, education, and aged care sectors signed the letter.
Among the signatories are Universiti Malaya dean of medicine Prof Datuk Dr Abeeda Kamarulzaman, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Amrahi Buang, Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ganabaskaran, Islamic Medical Association Malaysia president Dr Jeffery Abu Hassan, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Julian Leow and Buddhist Maha Viharav Chief High Priest Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratanana.