Malaysia outperforms others worldwide in vaccination rates

Former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz - just like those quarters in opposition whose intentions are clear in continuing to undermine and erode the people’s confidence in the present government - has upped her rantings, this time by describing the Perikatan Nasional-led government as incompetent and clueless.

She said that the government-of-the-day is a failed government, claiming that transparency, responsibility and good governance have been replaced with an almost dictatorial approach with the public subjected to incoherent police measures which have brought about more distress and problems, rather than solutions by the present government.

This is the woman who controlled the International Trade and Industry Ministry for almost 21 years since 1987 during the premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, placing the ministry almost as her private domain.

It was during her tenure that the controversies surrounding the Approved Permits (APs) industry exploded when it was revealed sometime in 2005 that a handful of individuals monopolized the AP business, which were initially issued in the 1970s to encourage bumiputera participation in used-car sales. Everything else after the revelations remained vague and unclear.

Well, let us focus on her accusations of Perikatan Nasional being incompetent, clueless and a failed government. I believe that we should ignore her other allegations, which should be taken with a pinch of salt; after all she has a right to her own opinion. With that out of the way, what exactly did she mean by Perikatan being incompetent and a failed government?

In case she hasn’t read this - a team of researchers recently said Malaysia is far from being a “failed state” as labelled by some quarters. Emir Research think-tank researchers Dr Rais Hussin and Jamari Mohtar have stated that Malaysia is ranked at the 123rd position out of 179 nations in this year’s Fragile States index, a year-on-year improvement of 0.7 points.

They said politicians should refrain from labelling the government as a failed government just for the mere purpose of politicking. They highlighted that Malaysia obtained a total score of 56.9 points, in contrast with Yemen as the most fragile state at the top position with 111.7 points.

The FSI, published by US-based non-profit organization, Fund For Peace, is based on four main indicators (including cohesion, economy and politics) and 12 sub-indicators, and a score of one to 10 points is given for each indicator, with one being the best and 10 the worst.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic weighs heavily in the current ranking and is seen as levelling the playing ground among the nations, the Perikatan government is seen as being able to bring the people out of a fragile statehood, demonstrating a remarkable resilience from which the rest of the world can and should learn.

In as far as the country’s economy is concerned, the Federal Bank or Bank Negara Malaysia has stated that the country remains on track for recovery this year, supported by better external and domestic demand. The ramping up of the nationwide vaccination programme will also lift sentiments and contribute towards recovery in economic activities despite the unevenness of pace across economic sectors.

Bank Negara Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus was quoted as saying that going forward, Malaysia is well positioned to continue benefitting from stronger global economic and trade activities. While the growth outlook continues to be shaped by developments surrounding the pandemic, the implementation of containment measures which are mainly aimed at curbing social activities, would minimize the impact on economic activity.

By the way, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has just returned from Turkey and in recognition of competency of the Malaysian government, Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed at the end of Azmin’s official visit to strengthen economic cooperation with Malaysia. Erdogan also invited Malaysian state-owned companies such as Khazanah Nasional to boost investment in Turkey. Turkey is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner in West Asia, after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, with total trade of RM9.62 billion.

As far as the Covid-19 vaccination rate is concerned, this country now boasts the fastest vaccination rate in the world, doling out more than 400,000 doses a day. How could this ever be achieved? It can be achieved simply because this government is more than capable and competent of doing it all. Amid the deaths and despondency, Malaysia has outperformed other nations in terms of Covid-19 vaccination, including Britain, Germany and Canada, among countries of a similar size or greater – and it is going at double the pace of Australia.

The World in Data Covid-19 tracking site said Malaysia is one of the world’s leading countries for daily administered jabs, surpassing other bigger countries as of July 10. Khairy Jamaluddin - the minister in-charge of this programme - said the government had been able to accelerate inoculation after a few months of renegotiating the supply and delivery of the vaccines it has purchased.

Mind you, until yesterday, it was reported that the vaccination rates continue to surge, with 25 percent of the population having received at least one dose of one of the vaccines.

Rafidah’s assessment of the Perikatan government is again, flawed and unjust if the government’s various aid packages which have benefited millions and millions of people are anything to go by. Just last month alone, this government announced a RM150 billion aid package, including cash aid and wage subsidies after extending a nationwide lockdown to tackle the stubborn outbreak. This Pemulih aid package includes a fiscal injection of RM10 billion from the government. To date, the Perikatan government has announced eight economic stimulus and aid packages worth altogether RM530 billion.

All these financial and aid programmes to help those in need only indicates the government’s deep commitment and pledges to push all of us and this country towards a brighter future and a more successful statehood.

The facts are clear; despite being tested and challenged by crises, PN remains open and aggressive in working closely with all stakeholders, including opposition lawmakers to directly channel aid to fellow citizens. The recent RM100 food basket Programme included a RM300,000 allocation for Members of Parliament regardless of their political allegiance to ensure those in need can survive through these tough times. Millions have benefited from all these aid arrangements.

Despite the constantly moving variables and unknowns, this functioning government has, indeed, done its utmost and clearly, it will continue to protect lives and livelihoods of people. It is very obvious that all these aid packages and the on-going people-friendly measures and strategies, the bright outlook laid down for us to move towards post-pandemic days and all, are signs of competency, fairness and care. Despite facts to the contrary as portrayed by Rafidah and the like, this is the saviour-government that is ever willing and determined to fight back against the mother of all pandemics, not giving up easily for the sake of people and this country.

Kristina Zaman

Southville, Dengkil.

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