Stop giving Malaysians “half-baked excuses and speculative projections” when presenting Covid-19 data, an MP told the health ministry today.
Instead, Damansara MP Tony Pua said, the ministry should demonstrate professionalism and not cover up mistakes with “made-up arguments and excuses”.
Pua, of DAP, said that when the movement control order (MCO) 3.0 began on May 23, Malaysians were told the number of cases would be reduced if they sacrificed their livelihood by staying at home.
However, the number of cases did not drop and the government announced a total lockdown while the number of positive cases remained “sticky”, causing the lockdown to extend for another two weeks.
“It obviously didn’t work because a further two weeks of enhanced movement control order (EMCO) was then imposed on the Klang Valley from July 3 with Malaysia setting a record of 13,215 Covid-19 cases recorded yesterday,” he said in a statement.
He said this scenario clearly proved the health ministry had failed to carry out its duties to mitigate the spread of infection, even as the people were suffering in silence, losing income and livelihood.
Two days ago, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said since the total lockdown on June 1, Malaysia had managed to flatten the curve from 9,020 cases to 5,000 and 4,000 cases. However, the cases rose again due to Covid-19 variants.
Pua said he found it extremely disconcerting that the most senior health officer of the country was telling “half-truths and manipulating numbers”.
“Noor Hisham was selective and manipulative with his statistics. On June 1, when the total lockdown was imposed, the number of cases recorded was 7,105 while the number on May 31 was 6,824. The average number of cases for the week preceding June 1 was 7,680. It was not 9,020.”
He said the number of cases never dropped to 5,000 and 4,000 cases, because for the next 10 days, it fluctuated between a high of 8,209 and a low of 5,271.
“So how did the health DG conjure up his magical success of reducing the number of cases from 9,020 cases to 4,000 cases in 10 days after FMCO?
“Even if accurate, it was irresponsible for the health DG to cite these numbers because he has failed to take into consideration the impact of the reduced testing on the lower number of reported cases,” he said.
Pua pointed out that in the weeks before the full lockdown (May 23 to 29), the country carried out 109,601 tests daily on average. However, the number of average daily tests from June 6 to 12 dropped by 17.9% to only 89,985.
He said the positivity rate between the two weeks showed only a marginal drop from 6.96% to 6.61%, adding that this meant the overwhelming bulk of the reduced positive cases was a direct result of reduced testing and not of reduced infection.
“Does Noor Hisham think he can get away with half-truths and manipulated statistics to defend his ministry’s performance because Malaysians are gullible and cannot count?
“Noor Hisham must stop speaking like his ‘fly-by-night’ minister and report the facts like a professional. Do not give Malaysians half-baked excuses and speculative projections.
“Instead, give us a proper plan in terms of how the ministry will systematically increase testing, the targeted positivity rate reductions we want to see as well as other concrete measures to upgrade and expand our facilities and resources to fight Covid-19,” he said.