Tiong wants MOH to throw the book at big corporations behind Covid-19 clusters

Dato Sri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, Dec 29: Special Envoy to China Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has lashed out at the Ministry of Health (MOH) for “closing one eye” on big corporations which caused Covid-19 clusters in the country.

He said the MOH, especially the Health Department under its wing, must be held accountable for the surge in cases in the country.

“They did not even take action in the first instance until the situation devolved into daily 4-digit cases. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies in Malaysia will not compromise with ordinary businesses and people, but they are extremely lenient to large enterprises, and even practise a “close one eye” way of doing things,” Tiong alleged in a statement today.

“Is it fair for the business people who strictly abide by the SOPs?”

He also questioned why certain factories were not locked down when employees were found to be positive for Covid-19

“On the contrary, these high risk groups were allowed to wander around leading to more transmissions on the ground.

“Furthermore, the health authorities must disclose the number of employees hired by the factories that led to Selangor’s current 28,880 confirmed cases, instead of merely imposing a fine of RM1,000,” he opined.

Tiong who is also the Bintulu MP asserted that MOH must face up to their failures and admit negligence and lack of experience, especially when compared to how other countries have managed the pandemic.

“Even China, with a population of 1.4 billion, has done better than us in preventing and controlling the spread of the coronavirus. It is undeniable. We must also admit that Malaysia’s current epidemic control has failed.”

He lamented that despite Malaysia spending huge sums of money and appealing to the entire population to fight the outbreak from the beginning, now the country is facing outbreak after outbreak.

“(But) now it is outbreak after outbreak, cluster after cluster and the lockdowns to the economy cannot be used because the economic performance is linked directly to the government. Companies in Malaysia have been repeatedly given leniency, resulting in them becoming the weakest link in outbreak prevention.

“This is the price paid by the people. Is it fair to small businesses and ordinary people?,” he asked.

The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president also urged the Health Department to study in detail where the epicentres of outbreaks were instead of repeatedly giving forecasts, including that the real outbreaks would occur next year.

“I can recall that a similar prediction was made previously that an outbreak would occur at the end of the year, etc. These predictions have only caused panic among the people, and even made people question the effectiveness of the Health Department.

“Rather than making predictions every day, it is better to devote resources to more effective outbreak prevention measures to truly slow down Malaysia’s spread of the coronavirus. This includes practical actions, restarting national economic activities and opening borders as soon as possible, so that trade can return to normal,” Tiong opined.

On a related issue, he also questioned whether the current upswing in the number of Covid-19 cases has been raised for discussion in the National Security Council.

“If it has, why does the pandemic situation continue to be erratic or seemingly getting out of control? If we lack the appropriate experience in this area, why do we not seek the assistance and advice of experts from China to free our country of the nightmare as soon as possible?

“I think we can no longer allow the Health Department to make arbitrary decisions that do not result in the effective management of all coronavirus prevention measures and policies,” he opined.

Tiong thus urged the relevant authorities to discuss with experts to address the current spike in Covid-19 cases.

“As other countries continue to open up their economies, our country cannot continue to keep the borders closed, otherwise, foreign investment will skip (sic) Malaysia. This continuing weakness of the economy will have a knock-on effect in the domestic market, and then innocent civilians will pay for the failures of the relevant government departments,” added Tiong. — DayakDaily