[Letter to the Editor] We love our old and won’t let them die

Elderly (file photo).

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Letter to the Editor

by Dr Gabriel Walter

Dear Editor,

This is the first time in many years, I will celebrate Chinese New Year alone.

Of course, I had also missed Christmas. And I have missed all my children, my wife and mother’s birthdays.  My father will be 75 soon. I don’t want to miss that…

The last time I met my parents was September last year when quarantine requirements were temporary stopped in August and September for Sarawak.

And I have not held my children and wife for more than a year now.

But thank God, they are safely tucked in the world’s best country in handling Covid-19, Taiwan.

Covid-19 has inflicted a great toll, not just economically, but also psychologically. Many have suffered. Many are suffering.

I know many Sarawakians who are also in the same situation, desperate to reconnect with their loved ones.

We have entered the final leg of the war with Covid-19. In this final leg, we are not Taiwan. We are not New Zealand. We are not Australia or Singapore. We are not countries that have succeeded in containing the plague.

Instead, the numbers Malaysia carries are similar to those early days of Italy, Spain and France. We are a country that is on the brink of Covid-19 disaster. And like those countries, we are depending on the “miracle” of vaccines to get out of it.

To manage the public, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has learned to react differently now. MOH has learned to “manage” results the public sees. The daily released numbers are meaningless.

The MOH is reducing tests and contract tracing by 90 per cent. They no longer reveal the number of test they (KKM) do daily.

Many tests are in fact initiated by private initiative to screen their workers rather than contact tracing.

Low test means low positives.

With low death rate of 0.4 per cent and a asymptomatic/mild sickness rate of 89 per cent, Malaysia’s Covid-19 policies can “afford” to get away without testing.

More than 80 per cent of Malaysian Covid-19 death are retirees (55 and above). And the younger ones that died, MOH always points to the chronic diseases they may have. MOH paints the message that they died because they have existing sicknesses and it’s not completely because of Covid-19.

0.4 per cent death rate confines to the elderly and the sick.

Maybe, that is the sacrifice they are willing to take.

I believe Sarawakian leadership is different. I believe leaders who are doctors such as Dato Sri Dr. Sim Kui Hian, understands the value of each life as he fights for each day. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how rich or how poor, he will fight to save your life.

I believe that Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who recently had his own health struggles and brush with death, understands that the will to live is inherent to everyone. And to be able to fight to live, is a right of every citizen.

All eyes are now looking at our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on whether he will take strong leadership to invoke emergency use for the importation of vaccine, bypassing MOH and business/political cartels that are creating artificial roadblocks and shortages of vaccine.

Dear Chief Minister, my parents are old, and their lives still matter. The lives of all our parents matters.

Our elderly people, they are the ones who built Sarawak. The peace, prosperity and stability we have today, came from their hard work, sweat and sacrifices.

Let’s not abandon them in this time of pandemic. Let’s us not be Italy  who left those above 80 years old to die.

Let’s never forget.

We care and love our old.

We protect the weak and the sickly.

We are a filial society.

We are Sarawakians.

Let’s give true meaning to what we believe in.

Happy Chinese New year to all our Chinese members. Chinese New year is about family. Protect our old. — DayakDaily

This is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of DayakDaily. Letters to the Editor may be edited for clarity.