Politics vs Covid-19: Nobody wins

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The main cause of a sharp rise in daily Covid-19 infections has been clearly identified as reckless human-to-human contact during last month’s campaigning for the Sabah state election – and we’re still paying the price two months later.

It’s crazy when one realises that the Health Ministry was reporting single digit new Covid-19 daily cases back in August. The last time this happened was on Sept 6 with six new Covid-19 cases, with an overall total of 9,397 infections and a 97 per cent recovery rate.

Right now, the nation’s Covid-19 infections total has tripled within weeks. It only makes sense to focus on containing this rapid spread, but not for our politicians. If we haven’t learnt from mistakes made during Sabah’s state election, just take a look down south at Singapore’s hubris in holding a general election on July 10 on the assumption its Covid-19 outbreak was well-contained at foreign worker dormitories.

The subsequent rise in Singapore’s Covid-19 infections, spiking a month later at 908 on Aug 6 and touching single digit cases of eight only on Sept 2, starkly shows how wrong politicians often are and the common people end up paying the price!

Dewan Rakyat proceedings are set to resume on Nov 2 and many politicians are baying for a ‘no confidence’ vote against the government. They’re also threatening to shoot down Budget 2021 to force the same outcome to trigger a general election.

The Agong’s words are especially significant, for he’s speaking on behalf of all state rulers who had met to discuss the need for a national emergency declaration, but decided not to. Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said His Majesty stressed that it was very important for the government and the authorities, especially the frontliners, to continue implementing policies and making efforts to curb the threats of the pandemic.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah also called on the MPs to heed royal advice to immediately stop the politicking and give priority to the people’s wellbeing so that Budget 2021 could be passed without any disruption.”

And to emphasise his advice, the Agong had also said: “His Majesty feels that the government at present has managed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic well and effectively. His Majesty much believes in the government’s capability under the leadership of the Prime Minister to continue implementing policies and enforcement actions to curb the spread of Covid-19.”

And if this advice isn’t meaningful enough, the key person driving the nation’s effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has also advised against holding a general election. Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said hard lessons had been learnt from Sabah’s state election. “We hope we don’t need to repeat the consequences of an election in other states.”

He advised that if a general election does need to be held as required by the Constitution, there should be no cross-border and no cross-district travel, and no ‘balik kampung’ for the election. He also strongly advised against mass gatherings or ‘ceramah’ or house-to-house visits by politicians and supporters.

People have generally spoken out against any change now in the government or another general election. Otherwise, Malaysia’s total number of Covid-19 cases might overtake Singapore’s total of around 58,000. Nst

Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Focus on tackling COVID-19, reviving economy, politicians told

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