Bintulu MP questions whether Health Minister has clear strategy in addressing Omicron crisis

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing

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KUCHING, Jan 9: Bintulu MP Dato’ Seri Tiong King Sing questioned whether Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin has a clear strategy to meet ‘worst-case scenarios’ in addressing the Omicron variant crisis or is it still a ‘one step at a time’ attitude being adopted right now.

According to Tiong in a statement today, the country needs to quickly enter a state of preparation instead of waiting for the medical system to collapse.

“We must see the trend of the pandemic and call on the people to strictly abide by the health protocols’ standard operating procedures to prevent a widespread contagion.

“Most importantly, the authorities must review past experience in fighting the pandemic by appropriately managing resources now such as scheduling medical staff, wards, equipment, and others in advance,” he said.

Tiong, who is also Dudong assemblyman, reiterated that the country must be proactive instead of reactive by making long-term plans for this drawn-out war.

He said the country should not be scrambling to find resources and formulate countermeasures at the last minute, particularly with the MOH’s (Ministry of Health) budget for 2021 and 2022.

“All have been allocated more than RM30 billion, the second largest after the Ministry of Education (MOE). But now people are asking, what are these allocations used for? For example, is it used to improve the medical system or the equipment in each hospital?

“Only by cutting out the mess done in the initial stage of the outbreak can we avoid a far-reaching and more extensive impact, without unnecessarily consuming more energy, time, and resources than is needed,” he added.

He pointed out that Omicron is highly transmissible, at six times of the Delta variant. As of Jan 6, Malaysia has recorded 245 cases of Omicron and 233 of these were imported cases and 12 local transmissions.

When Malaysia reported its first confirmed imported case on Dec 2, 2021, Khairy stressed that Malaysia’s pandemic prevention measures are rigorous and appealed to everyone to remain calm.

“Even better, he told everyone that he had a plan to take care of it, but in a month, his tune has changed to estimating cases to soar to 30,000 daily cases,” he said.

He also lamented that during the pandemic that has raged for more than two years, MOH seems not to have any more strong ideas to suppress it.

“Worse, they seem to have started to relax and put their guard down, the wind gone from their sails in this fight. Travellers returning from overseas are now allowed to quarantine at home instead of being strictly monitored in quarantine hotels.

“It is because the authorities did not seriously carry out the testing work which had led to Omicron taking hold in Malaysia,” he said.

The Progressive Democratic Action Party (PDP) president also emphasised that with the Lunar New Year coming, the MOH and prime minister must take this matter more seriously, including more effective strategies to deal with the Omicron variant.

“We can no longer afford another total lockdown that puts the people on the edge of survival.

“But we must deeply think and review the negatives and drawbacks of the current standard operating procedures and make true adjustments that protect the life and health of our people,” he said. ― DayakDaily