PRESS STATEMENT 27 APRIL 2021 BY DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM, PKR PRESIDENT & MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR PORT DICKSON
I offer my deepest sympathies to the people around the world who are facing a tremendous calamity with the rapid spread of infections in some countries.
On Sunday nearly 350,000 cases were reported in India a single day along with 2,600 deaths. Turkey has seen an 8-fold increase in cases since earlier in the year. I have seen reports of hospitals at capacity and shortages of medical suppliers which is causing massive toll on human life especially in developing countries.
The spike in cases globally gives me great concern over the impending next wave of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.
The poor handling of Covid-19 by the PN government and the failure of the emergency to control the spread of infections has caused many to become disillusioned with the government’s approach and selective enforcement of SOPs.
Given how slow our vaccination plan is, the out-of-control spread of Covid-19 is possible in Malaysia if we are not careful.
We must exercise vigilance to ensure the pandemic does not spiral out of control. Open borders and people flouting social distancing measures seems to be the trigger for this latest wave of infections.
I empathise with everyone who simply wishes life to return to normal. However, the spread of Covid-19 will be used as an excuse to extend the emergency, impose new restrictions on movement and work, and further delay Parliament.
The poor handling of the pandemic including wasteful, un-accounted for spending will continue which benefits the cronies at the expense of the rakyat.
I welcome the decision, albeit late, to increase the quarantine period for inbound travels coming from countries which have seen the spread of Covid-19 variants that are believed to be more dangerous. I recommend the following additional measures to be considered:
1. Improve Contact Tracing — Effective and efficient contract tracing is critical to slowing the spread of Covid-19. I am worried by the reports that KKM is taking several days to notify Covid-19 positive cases. KKM must share data more openly including average number of days it takes to inform people who are infected and additional resources must be allocated to ensure rapid notification of newly infected people.
2. Work From Home — I support work from home mandates that allow workers to avoid office settings without penalty. Employers can be given discretion but as cases are rising we should allow workers the latitude to protect themselves and their families and reduce the likelihood of additional clusters forming.
3. Adherence to SOPs — The inconsistent and haphazard enforcement of SOPs has created a mistrust of the government’s approach. Nevertheless I call upon all Malaysians to continue to adhere to the basic requirements of masking, social distancing and limiting extra gatherings as much as possible during this month and the Hari Raya celebrations. A lapse in our vigilance could lead to rapid and uncontrollable spread of Covid-19.
4. Maintain Clear Restrictions on Gatherings and Travel — Due to the mishandling of the pandemic and slow vaccination program we must maintain restrictions on interstate travel during Ramadan and Hari Raya celebrations.
While many Malaysians have lost confidence in the government’s ability to manage the pandemic, we must, as citizens of this country, do our part to protect ourselves and each other. I urge you to exercise caution and do your part to prevent the spread of Covid-19.