Experts: Take heed of PM’s message

Mask up: Members of the public are reminded to always wear a mask when out in public to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia has lauded Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s message that prevention is way better than cure when it comes to Covid-19.

Coalition president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said Muhyiddin had given a firm message that hit all the right notes in his special Covid-19 address on Tuesday.

Health experts felt that the speech played an important part in inspiring confidence in the battle against the pandemic.

Universiti Malaya virologist Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar said Muhyiddin’s points such as strict border controls and effective Covid-19 testing were reassuring as they showed that he cared for the people.

“I fully agree with his point about ramping up border patrols and control as well as effective testing.

“While Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has been giving the more regular updates, it is good that every now and then, the Prime Minister updates the nation too to show the rakyat that he is the ultimate person taking the responsibility,” he said of Muhyiddin’s special address, where he made clear that the government would not rush to reopen the country’s borders.

He said the government would also continue to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants.

Dr Sazaly described infected illegal immigrants who infiltrated the border as “almost comparable to bioterrorists”.

“It is time for Malaysia to ramp up spending for border control assets and expand the workforce towards better control.

“As a maritime nation supposedly, we have focused too much and for far too long on land-based transport, leaving our nation vulnerable even against illegal immigrants,” he said.

Dr Raj Kumar said Muhyiddin’s reminder came at the right moment.

“People tend to forget easily. Hence constant reminders at regular intervals is important to keep everyone on their toes.

“Educating, constant reminders and enforcement is important. Punishment should only be meted out if all else fails.

“Security along our borders also needs to be further tightened,” Dr Raj Kumar said, adding that for the benefit of rural folk without smartphones, conventional channels to disseminate messages should be used, and these include political parties, community leaders, local councils, and non-governmental organisations.

Universiti Putra Malaysia medical epidemiologist and biostatistician Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman said Muhyiddin’s speech motivates Malaysians in the fight against Covid-19.

“In my opinion, this would be good for most of us as it is constantly reminding us to comply with preventive measures against Covid-19,” she said.

In his speech, Muhyiddin had expressed concern that the number of positive cases has been rising, with a total of 615 new cases detected in the past 14 days, and warned that the government would be forced to reintroduce the movement control order (MCO) if necessary.

Dr Malina said complacency among the people from time to time will lead to compromises in observing the standard operating procedures, potentially leading to new cases and outbreaks.

She said that besides the Prime Minister, community leaders should also show a good example to the public when it comes to reinforcing the observance of rules and SOP.

“Good examples from local leaders, heads of organisations, and those known to the public are crucial to provide motivation for the public to comply with the rules.”
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Muhyiddin Yassin , message , covid-19 , pandemic


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