Will MCO continue? Health D-G says decision in PM’s hands, MOH just advising
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said the decision to lift or extend the movement control order (MCO) lies with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is seeking to tailor the six criteria from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and will advise the prime minister accordingly on the matter “a few days before” the end of the third phase MCO on April 28.
“We will advise the prime minister on the MCO based on our modelling, facts and figures [on Covid-19] and also based on the advisory from WHO and customise the advisory for our local needs.
“However, it’s the prime minister’s decision whether to extend or have a soft landing in the exit strategy,” he said in his daily briefing on the Covid-19 updates.
Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said the six criteria are border control, MCO, health system, steps to protect high-risk groups, adhering to new norms and most importantly working together with the relevant authorities.
“If we open border control there are chances of imported cases to increase. This is something we learn from many countries. In fact, we need to tighten the border rather than ease the border.
“MCO helps to curb the local virus transmission. In order to review it, we must make sure the active cases are reduced. The local transmission should at least reduce from two digits to one digit. This could be done if we continue to enhance the MCO for at least another two weeks,” he said.
He also said the health care should be enhanced in terms on the availability of the labs and kits to test the infection and also hospitals and health staffs to treat the patients.
Dr Noor Hisham also said the authorities have to come up with a plan to protect the high-risk group, these include elderly citizens, people with disabilities, children and those undergoing health treatment, before lifting the MCO
“Apart from that, the public must make sure to adhere to the new norm after MCO. There should be no public gathering, practice social distancing and protect ourselves by wearing masks and frequently wash hands or use hand sanitisers,” he said.
Lastly, he said that the community empowerment is important where all the green zones, whether if it is states, districts or sub-districts, need to be protected before lifting the MCO.
Yesterday, Singapore extended its partial lockdown called “the circuit breaker”, to minimise movement of its citizens, for four more weeks until June 1.
PM Muhyiddin May Extend Lockdown Until May Because The Unstable Government Can’t Take Any Political Risk
On Friday (March 10), the government of Muhyiddin Yassin will announce the fate of the MCO (movement control order), which has been enforced since March 18. But based on the current status of Coronavirus cases, you can bet all your money that it will be extended again. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say the government may even extend the lockdown until end of May.
At best, the backdoor government, under economic pressure, may grant some minor relaxation to certain private sectors in a certain zone to resume their business – probably on a limited scale basis such as allowing them to be operational on alternative days of the week. At worst, the clueless PM Muhyiddin will make the easiest decision – keeps telling people to stay at home and enjoy the free cash given.
The writing is on the wall that the lockdown will definitely continue. More roads are being closed. MCO violations are trumpeted – even magnified – to justify the need for the lockdown to continue. New cases of Covid-19 are still in the 3-digit figures, with deaths reported on a daily basis. Every now and then, new clusters of Coronavirus will be discovered, thanks to the genius police force.
A new sub-cluster of Coronavirus infections has just been found in Rembau, Negri Sembilan, thanks to the Tabligh religious gathering. Amazingly, there had been a violation of MCO in the Rembau district, but for obvious reason, no arrest was made. Thanks to Tabligh cluster again, 143 students of tahfiz madrassah school together with 5 teachers have been quarantined in Ipoh, Perak.
It appears that the health ministry is merely fire-fighting, as admitted by its director-general Dr Noor Hisham on April 8. There were 69 sporadic Coronavirus cases – infections without clear sources of origin. The disturbing part of those sporadic cases is that they came from all over the country. It’s still too early to say if the chaotic declaration of MCO by Muhyiddin had contributed to the birth of the sporadic cases.
However, one thing is almost certain – Muhyiddin government does not have any exit strategy for the Covid-19 pandemic. How do we know? After we published an article about it, UMNO vice president Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that it was time for the government to ditch “ad-hoc” approaches to make way for a more sustainable exit strategy and introduce a new normal to the society post-MCO.
In short, the UMNO warlord admits that the incompetent Muhyiddin government has been fighting the pandemic on ad-hoc basis (or fire-fighting) instead of planning strategically to avoid them hence has a zero exit strategy to deal with the virus. A simple step to meet the exit strategy is to ensure people have sufficient face masks to wear when the lockdown is gradually lifted.
Despite previous insistence that there were sufficient masks for everyone in the country, the prime minister has finally been caught lying through his teeth when his own government said (Wednesday, March 8) that face mask supplies in the market have improved to 25% (from 4%). That statement from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry is proof that PM Muhyiddin was a liar.
Exactly how Muhyiddin could claim that there were enough face masks to go around when only 4% of the market had the supply? Then, the backdoor prime minister went shopping at a posh supermarket on March 30 and self-proclaimed that food supply was enough. But the same Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry also just admitted the shortage of eggs due to logistic problems.
Now, besides the prime minister, the Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has also been caught lying. Mr. Wee has on March 28 said that the container congestion at three major ports in the country was over under his leadership. He also boastfully said his ministry had quickly solved domestic logistics problems. Yet, the people still experienced a shortage of eggs due to transportation issues.
With a supply of face masks at only 25%, clearly an exit strategy is not ready and the people cannot be allowed to resume their normal life, which translates to a prolonged lockdown until probably the end of May. Another reason why the government may choose the easy way out of locking everyone at home until the end of May is largely due to political reasons.
Muhyiddin government is extremely fragile. It could collapse any time if any of its allies, UMNO or PAS or “friendly” Sarawak-based GPS, pulls out of the hastily formed Perikatan Nasional government. The fact that the PM had to create a special post with ministerial level, Special Envoy to the Middle East, for PAS president Hadi Awang spoke volumes of the unstable backdoor government.
With the minorities, especially the Chinese and Indian voters, anxiously waiting to vote him out, Mr. Muhyiddin cannot afford a backlash from his own community. That explains why his recently announced RM250 billion stimulus package was designed to reward the 1.71-million civil servants with truckloads of cash, even though their monthly salaries were secured and they won’t lose their jobs.
While the ethnic composition of the Coronavirus cases and deaths are being kept under wraps, the majority of them have been linked to the Tabligh religious members – suggesting that the Malay community is mostly affected. If the MCO lockdown is relaxed and the infections get worse than now resulting in skyrocketing deaths, PM Muhyiddin Yassin would be in deep trouble.
His backdoor government, which has yet to get any endorsement or recognition from foreign countries (except Singapore and Indonesia), would most likely argue that the country needs at least 2 months of lockdown like Wuhan, China, before a decision can be made. A lockdown is Muhyiddin’s only option to avoid facing the Parliament. It also gives him the time to buy support from the opposition Members of Parliament.
That was why the cash distribution to the people was split into 2 months, April and May. Most of the comments in the social media who strongly rejected the lifting of the MCO lockdown came from civil servants or employees of GLCs (government linked companies). Who in their right mind would go back to work when they could sleep at home with special bonus on top of guaranteed salaries?
Taking the cue from China, the Malaysian government under Muhyiddin hopes to lift the control of the MCO when there are zero new Covid-19 cases and deaths. The clueless backdoor government has to deal with one issue at a time. It is trying not to make major political mistake. However, it’s not even a sure thing if the country could emerge victorious in 2 months like China.
That would bring back the issue of an exit strategy, which the incompetent government has none. The reason why the authorities have been foaming at the mouth to achieve 100% lockdown compliance is simply because the government has no other strategy. If Beijing’s lockdown strategy does not work in Malaysia, Muhyiddin would be in trouble.
Source : Finance Twitter