PETALING JAYA : As the number of Covid-19 infections worsened in recent days, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has accused the Perikatan Nasional-led government of failing to contain the pandemic, saying “we’re right back where we started” a year after movement restrictions began.
“The implementation of the movement control order is a failure. The imposition of a state of emergency is proven to be a phony excuse to cling to power. The vaccination plan to save the country is regrettably slow,” he said in a statement this evening.
He noted that Malaysians had endured 395 days of MCO restrictions, and almost 100 days since the state of emergency was imposed.
Malaysia reported 2,551 new Covid-19 infections yesterday, and 2,331 Covid-19 cases, with 5 deaths, today.
Anwar, who is PKR president, called upon the government to respond to questions surrounding the lack of transparency in vaccine procurement and the lag in vaccine distribution, as other middle-income countries race to vaccinate their citizens.
He criticised the reason stated for low vaccine supply, saying “it is disappointing to hear Malaysia clamouring to be recognised as a high-income, advanced nation but whenever push comes to shove, the government’s excuse for its poor performance is to say that Malaysia is a small and poor country”.
Two days ago, immunisation coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said that Malaysia’s vaccine supply was low because higher-income countries had cornered Covid-19 supplies.
Anwar contended that “this is impossible to verify unless there is transparency in the procurement process”.
On the slow vaccination rates, Anwar also questioned Khairy on the country’s logistical capacity, including coordination with hospitals, care facilities, public health clinics, general practitioners and pharmacies, to administer the 210,000 doses per day, which is required to reach 80% coverage of the population by the end of the year.
He said this coordination plan should at least be revealed to the bipartisan Covid-19 committee, if not made public. “And what are the tangible metrics which the bipartisan committee is considering in its determination to recommend an end to the state of emergency?” he added.
In relation to vaccinations, he also asked the government’s plans in convincing the public to participate in the vaccination programme, noting low registration numbers.
He also questioned the government on reports of dangerous virus strains in Malaysia appearing recently, despite border closures and strict quarantine on arrival, adding that the closures have levied a severe cost on the economy.
Anwar has also questioned the authorities’ progress in holding the private sector accountable for the spread of Covid-19 infections among foreign workers.