I DO not envy the Prime Minister and the Perikatan Nasional ministers during this Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysians, particularly the opposition MPs, have taken to criticising every move that the PM and his Cabinet have taken. Never in the history of our nation has the government’s actions been put under such intense scrutiny as these so-called experts offer their two-sen criticism at every opportunity.
When the first movement control order was declared, many, including opposition politicians, called it unnecessary and bad for business, only to clamour for a complete lockdown in MCO 3.0.
When the government first mooted the Covid-19 vaccination programme, many detractors spouted (and are still doing it) nonsense about Jewish conspiracies and questioned the safety of the “unproven” vaccines, so much so that the Health Ministry became very careful with giving approvals to use them.
Yet, recently, there are people clamouring for the government to rush the approval for more types of vaccines. Witness also the farce about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which initially was scare-mongered as unsafe for the elderly but was later was “sold-out” within hours when opened up to volunteers.
Moreover, various interest groups and even some states have strongly criticised the government for not giving them priority on the vaccination list. And there are also voices scolding the government for not giving priority to the elderly to register for the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is despite the common knowledge that Western nations are hoarding the supply of vaccines, in some instances up to 200% of their country’s population.
Another example is when schools were closed. People complained about their children having problems studying or taking exams but later criticised the government for reopening the schools.
More recently, when the SPM 2020 students beat the odds and did well in their exam, aspersions were cast that the Education Ministry lowered the passing mark. I am sure that had they done badly, the government would also be blamed.
Clearly, most Malaysians don’t really know what they want and are only venting their frustrations in non-constructive ways or have ulterior political motives. Nevertheless, I also want to offer my two-sen advice to the government, which is to focus on the vaccination drive over all other matters.
It is now proven that lockdowns can only slow down the spread of Covid-19, not stop it entirely. The only solution to the pandemic is to achieve herd immunity. Already, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have shown dramatic reductions in the deaths and number of Covid-19 cases due to their high vaccination rates.
All MPs should carry out vaccination outreach programmes such as the one done by Housing and Local Government Minster and Ampang MP, Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, who used her Penggerak Komuniti Negara NGO to track down vaccine no-shows and arrange for transport to vaccination venues. She is also mobilising the resources of her ministry to organise mobile vaccination clinics to penetrate rural areas.
Forget about which ministry the job falls under. The Health Ministry is already overburdened and now is not the time to work in silo. Ignore the detractors who presumably have nothing else to do during the MCO. Get us out of this pandemic, and you will have a grateful nation behind you.
MASANIA MOHD BASRI