Malaysians were too complacent

I REFER to the report “Sarawak to be only state not under MCO” (The Star, Jan 20; online at

Malaysia successfully controlled the first wave of Covid-19 infections in 2020 within three months of imposing the movement control order. But now we are recording four-digit figures of daily cases. What has caused the resurgence of this virus? The simplest answer: we were too complacent.

Malaysians, including the authorities, failed to acknowledge that the biggest challenge with Covid-19 is its ability to infect individuals without causing any (or only mild) symptoms. To control an outbreak, “detection, isolation and treatment” is vital. However, detecting an infected individual is extremely difficult with the Covid-19 virus.

While Malaysians are blaming the government for failing to control the outbreak, the responsibility also lies with the Malaysian people. During the recovery MCO phase, it was worrying to see many people travelling for vacations – not helpful at all for outbreak control.

And I have observed in the news there are press conferences and ceremonies involving politicians for different reasons, such as visiting flood victims. I’m sure they are grateful for the aid but it can be distributed by the staff already on the ground. There is no need for politicians to attract unnecessary attention resulting in a gathering of supporters and journalists.

Hopefully, Malaysians will return to behaving how we did under MCO 1.0 because we will pay a larger price – economically and in human lives – if this outbreak is not controlled.


Birmingham, Britain

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letters , covid-19 , MCO


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