I am quite stupefied at the seeming apathy and lack of ability of the “caring” Prihatin Nasional (PN) leadership in arresting the sudden steep rise in covid 19 deaths from a total of about 300 in March to more than 4,700 as of yesterday. The daily death figures keep vacillating from 60 to sometimes over 100 but the PN leadership doesn’t draw much attention to it.
On the number of times I have heard the daily covid 19 updates over the radio on the channel I turn on, there was no mention of the covid 19 death tally. Active and recovered cases are mentioned but the daily death tally is omitted.
I have no idea if all the radio stations omit the daily covid 19 death figure or if the figure was unavailable at the time of the news broadcast. Radio listeners, however, are mostly in the rural and semi-rural areas which form the backbone of PN’s voter base and I wonder if the daily covid 19 death tally, which is the best reflection of the leadership’s ability in controlling the pandemic, is not publicized in these areas. If it were, I wonder if the people there would be as docile as they are now and whether they would continue to support the PN.
The covid 19 death tally is announced by the English-speaking and urban-based media but apparently not over radio, at least not on the channel I listened to. Perhaps, the PN coalition just doesn’t want to scare off their voter base. But, isn’t giving the people correct information a mark of good government?
Right now we don’t know if the people are getting all the correct data and not just some.
In my mind, the daily death tally is key in assessing the performance of the PN coalition in effectively managing the pandemic. It should hit the panic button and motivate the leadership to go into crisis mode to come up with counter-strategies. What we see, instead, is a laissez faire attitude in managing this health crisis that is claiming more lives with every passing day.
Instead, the PN is more interested in giving jobs to Umno members to ensure their support in the event of a no-confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat or a vote to pass the Budget. Why do we want a leadership that gives priority to staying in power over controlling the covid 19 pandemic?
In all clear conscience, should such a leadership remain in power? If it can not arrest the death toll, it must step down — soon, so that a better leadership can take over and deliver what it couldn’t.
We will be risking our lives to covid 19 if the PN is allowed to lead this country in the current crisis. PN may think that accelerating the vaccination rate may solve the problem. That is a short-sighted solution because vaccinated individuals can be carriers and spread the virus to those not vaccinated. Since we just started expediting vaccination, there are still millions not vaccinated and they are all at risk of getting covid 19.
This crisis demands expert attention and swift solutions and the question on everyone’s mind is whether PN can deliver or will it continue to play politics and keep the people at risk to covid 19?
Apparently, this pandemic is going to be with us for a long time. In a recent Reuters report, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that those vaccinated, especially the elderly, will need booster shots annually for protection against variants. Is the PN coalition ready to manage the covid 19 pandemic in the long haul? Can it generate enough funds to pay for vaccines annually? Does it have the ability to control future outbreaks or prevent them from happening so that economic recovery can take place unobstructed?
If the PN was unable to be proactive and control the pandemic so that the new surge of cases did not result in such a suddenly large number of deaths, it is doubtful it can lead this country safely through this pandemic.
In the current political situation, the solution is a National Operations Council (NOC) to effectively manage the crisis without political interference. If it really cares for the well-being of this nation, PN will step down and let the NOC give full attention to controlling the pandemic and then to facilitate economic recovery.
The political temperature will come drastically down and we give top priority to addressing the covid 19 pandemic. It’s as simple as that. One need not be an expert to figure that out.