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“Muhyiddin’s target of fully vaccinating 100% of adult population, commendable but achievable?”- Lim Kit Siang

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Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 19th July , 2021

Muhyiddin’s target of fully vaccinating 100% of adult population by October highly commendable but is it achievable?

The new target announced by the Prime Minister Muhyiddih Yassin to vaccinate all adults by October to stem the recent surge in Covid-19 cases is highly commendable but is it achievable?

This would mean the fast-track approach in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) including the boosting of the capacity for vaccination rate to 500,000 doses per day, to tackle the emergence of new variants of the virus which are more vicious.

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More than four months ago on 3rd March, I had called for the acceleration of the national vaccination rollout suggesting that the Malaysian Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) should meet and consider ways to complete the national vaccination rollout earlier so that Malaysia can gain full recovery in 2021, including giving consideration to a parallel Covid-19 vaccination programme supplied and run by the private sector alongside the government rollout.

When I took my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at the Kuala Lumpur Klinik Kesihatan on March 16, 2021, I expressed disappointment that nothing had been done with regard to my suggestion for the acceleration of the National Covid-19 vaccination roll-out to complete it very much earlier than the February 2022 schedule and called for an ambitious plan to accelerate and complete the National Covid-19 vaccination roll-out during the National Day-Malaysia Day celebrations from August 31st – September 16, 2021 so that Malaysia can begin to return to normality and work on economic recovery by the fourth quarter of the year.

I called for a new strategy and approach in the immunisation programme, allowing not only online but off-line registration; roping more stakeholders into the programme, including private hospitals and the country’s general practitioners, and enabling companies, associations and voluntary organisations to help in the vaccination registration process.

The new target to fully vaccinate all adult in Malaysia by October is quite close to the target of National Day-Malaysia Day period from August 31- September 16, and I fully support it.

This is most critical as South-East Asia is facing the worst outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the Delta strain puts intense pressure on the health systems in the region.

Indonesia has reported more daily Covid-19 infections than India and Brazil – Indonesia (44,721) as compared to India (38,325) and Brazil (34,126).

As a Guardian report summed up the desperate situation in ASEAN:

“In Malaysia, shipping containers have been sent to hospitals because their morgues are so overwhelmed. In Thailand, field hospitals are being built at the capital’s two airports. In Myanmar, social media has been inundated with desperate pleas for oxygen.

“In Indonesia,, the worst hit, volunteer undertakers visit homes, collecting the bodies of people who were unable to access treatment.”

We have reached an all-time high for new Covid-19 deaths yesterday – 153 deaths!

In the month of June, 2,374 people died of Covid-19. In 18 days of July, 1,849 died of Covid-19. We are heading to exceed 3,000 deaths for the month of July.

When on July 3, I berated the Muhyiddin government for neglecting the high Covid-19 fatality rate as it is completely unacceptable for 2,374 people to die of Covid-19 in June, a Minister treated it as a joke and accused me of being blind.

Yesterday, the worst-performing nation in the world for one whole year, the United States, has less daily new Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths than Malaysia – an indicator of the dismal failure of Malaysia’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

United States registered a daily peak of 305,178 new Covid-19 cases on January 20, 2021 and a daily peak of 4,471 deaths on January 15, 2021 but yesterday it had 9,045 new Covid-19 cases and 31 new Covid-19 deaths as compared to 10,710 new Covid-19 cases and 153 new Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia.

Can Muhyiddin explain what is happening to Malaysia’s war against the Covid-19 pandemic?

A new policy and strategy changing the war aim against Covid-19 pandemic from “Zero Covid” to “Living with Covid” is urgently needed.

We must restore public trust and confidence and launch a truly “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” mobilisation of Malaysian society singularly missing in the last 18 months in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Parliamentary Select Committee for Health, Science and Innovation which is meeting next Friday should be entrusted the task of drafting a new policy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic to replace the National Recovery Plan and for Malaysia to make the transition from “Zero Covid” to “Live with Covid” perspective.

 

 

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