Masidi: No single strategy to combat Covid-19

KOTA KINABALU: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to combatting Covid-19, says a Sabah minister tasked with overseeing the pandemic in the state.

Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said this in response to Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) research adviser Jomo Kwame Sundaram who questioned the efficacy of the conditional movement control order (MCO).

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) commended Malaysia for having the right strategy. I believe the Health Ministry’s strategy is working. In fact, there are constant adjustments to suit current situations,” he said when contacted.

Jomo highlighted at the “Budget 2021: Moving Towards Recovery” online forum over the weekend that other nations managed to continue fighting the virus without movement restrictions or lockdowns such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“Japan, South Korea and Taiwan may not be ‘apple-to-apple’ comparisons to our country as those countries have immense financial resources at their disposal.

“We will just have to be patient to see results, while fully complying with the standard operating procedure (SOP),” Masidi said.

On Jomo’s suggestion that the government look into utilising television or radio instead of depending heavily on online learning for students to continue their studies during the pandemic, Masidi said any other platforms were welcomed for consideration.

“Any medium that can bridge the communication gap is welcomed while work to enhance Internet penetration is in progress.

“The only issue is whether it is suitable to current education modules which are more interactive,” he said.

Sabahans on the ground said stricter restrictions were the best way to improve the pandemic situation in this state, despite its impact on people’s livelihood and the economy.

Some business owners acknowledged that while another MCO was “painful”, they were confident it would be the best decision in the long run.

Online entrepreneur Jessica Pun Yin said a full MCO would be more effective in curbing the high number of positive cases.

“Lives and the economy will suffer longer if we don’t impose more serious steps,” she said.

Businessman Ching Hong from Tawau believed that it was “better to feel the pain once than to feel the pinch forever”, and noted that many people were moving about following the relaxation of rules despite the conditional MCO.

Tracy Alim, who works in the private sector, said a full MCO was the way for Sabah to heal properly as the SOP under the conditional MCO was not being fully adhered to.

“Just look at the first MCO – we survived. Everyone followed the rules and we managed to flatten the curve,” said the mother-of-three.

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