Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
I strongly believe that there has to be a ‘reset’ in the government’s approach not just against Covid-19, but also the economy and such paradigm shift can be catalysed through a bi-partisan whole of society approach as well as a stronger recognition of the opposition’s role and input into the country’s National Covid-19 Recovery Plan.
The meeting between the Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan leaders can not only help transform politics in our country for the better but also help shift focus on important fundamentals including a Covid-19 Reset Plan and also a National Economic Turnaround Plan.
However, there must be clear sincerity from the government to follow up with the discussion and input from the opposition and implement the necessary concrete institutional, electoral and governance reforms including the important parliament institution reforms.
We do not want a repeat the “dark days” where Parliament democracy is stifled, and Parliament closed in the guise of an emergency. One of the important solutions to fight a pandemic together is allow vibrant parliamentary democracy and exchange of ideas to happen in Parliament as well as active functioning of Parliamentary Select Committees to run is role to give substantive parliamentary oversight to each Ministries in Government.
When it comes to the government’s approach toward Covid-19, the current government must learn from the mistakes of the previous government and not do the same things over and over again expecting a different outcome. This includes not just putting all eggs in the vaccination basket.
This is in line with the WHO regional director Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director statement that said vaccines alone will not put an end to the Covid-19 epidemic in Malaysia, and that the country should also implement effective intervention measures to control the outbreak.
That is why since the beginning, we have pushed the government to invest and strengthen the public health capacity to implement Find-Test-Trace-Isolate-Support (FTTIS) strategy alongside vaccination(V), and not at the expense of one another.
Nationally, even at the background of commendable vaccination rate, the positivity rate has exceeded 10% for 36 consecutive days, indicating widespread under-testing and that the disease is widespread in our country. Just yesterday (25th August 2021), the positivity rate was 13.22% way above the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended 5%.
That is why, Pakatan Harapan has suggested to the Prime Minister and the government to allocate a further RM 4 billion immediately to protect the capacity of our health care services, while building a reserve surge capacity for any upcoming waves.
To prepare the nation to live with Covid-19 as an endemic, strategic risk communication has is important to explain the transition to endemic Covid-19 to the public to help educate them and prepare them for the new normal. The current government must ramp up such strategic communications to educate and inform such fundamentals to build trust and prepare the public enough to adapt to this new normal.
While it is important for us find ways to re-set the economy as soon as possible, but there is no better way to reset it but to build a strong and comprehensive public health measures to control Covid-19. Fact is, Covid-19 should not be treated merely as a health matter, but also to include health in all policies of ministries in the government as we find a way forward.
So, I hope that through this understanding between the Prime Minister and the opposition, there be greater acknowledgement of inputs by the opposition and spark a fundamental reset to our approach towards Covid-19 for the good of the people.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching