Standing united in facing Covid-19

Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was health minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration, and Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (left).

PETALING JAYA: Two former health ministers from both sides of the political divide have signed a joint statement initiated by health professionals calling on Malaysians to unite in facing the challenges of Covid-19.

Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was health minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration, and Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who served under the Barisan Nasional government, signed the statement, which warned that Covid-19 “will not respect ethnic, religious or political boundaries”.

“Although measures to contain Covid-19 would invariably separate us physically to prevent 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 the statement issued yesterday.

Although the number of deaths and new cases of the virus in China appears to be stabilising, the group noted that the nation and several other countries were 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 that Malaysia has to act together, ” the statement read.

The move was initiated by Malaysian doctors Dr Yap Wei Aun from Petaling Jaya and Dr Khor Swee Kheng addressed 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 Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Amrahi Buang, Malaysian Medical Association president Dr N. Ganabaskaran, Islamic Medical Association Malaysia president Dr Jeffery Abu Hassan, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Julian Leow and Buddhist Maha Vihara chief high priest Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana.

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