KUCHING, March 29: Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing opines that the previous government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) overlooked the seriousness of Covid-19 at the earlier stages of the outbreak.
Tiong in a statement claimed concerns about the pandemic had already been raised repeatedly as early as Chinese New Year, and the government then had been called on to seriously consider action to ban international passengers entering the country, especially from China.
“Unfortunately, this was ignored by the authorities. Many party leaders have put on masks of false calm for the people. Instead of correcting their mistakes, they also dare not assume the responsibility for this pandemic.
“The previous government should have taken the precautionary step to make people aware of the epidemic’s potential and place the country under a state of “prevention is better than cure” earlier and it is this lack of forward-thinking that resulted in our outbreak, as we are faced with shortage of medical supplies and forced to depend on foreign help,” he added.
Tiong was replying to a statement by Lanang MP Alice Lau, claiming that the PH government was doing good in fighting the global pandemic.
Tiong also alleged that Ministry of Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had posted on social media that Malaysia’s previous administration had missed the opportunity to prepare for the worst case scenario and had even expressed skepticism of warnings from scientists at the end of January.
According to Tiong, up until Feb 13, 2020, former deputy health minister Lee Boon Chye had said at the time that it was not necessary to ban large-scale gatherings to avoid public panic as there were no cases of infection and proclaimed that the coronavirus was low risk.
Tiong claimed Lee even described East Malaysia’s measures to ban Chinese nationals from entering the country as early as February as too drastic.
Tiong asserted said if the PH government had paid the proper attention to the warnings and prepared resources in advance to prevent the pandemic, today there would be sufficient supplies for frontline workers.
“Now, the current government is forced to waste much valuable resources and time to hunt for extra facemasks and personal protective equipment. These items can be stored indefinitely and ready for any emergency like the one we face now,” he added.
He also suggested that the many professionals in PH whose reputations and qualifications have been loudly touted should lend their strength and abilities as medical professionals to battle the pandemic together with the frontliners.
“It is not the time to play politics to push your political agenda. But I believe I am right in pointing out that the PH had failed to give the pandemic the proper attention by initiating early responses and preventive measures,” he said. — DayakDaily