Opposition members wonder why PM delaying announcement date, say it is proof of ‘incompetent, indecisive’ govt
KUALA LUMPUR : Despite the assurance by Putrajaya that a more comprehensive aid will be unveiled to cushion the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fact that it took the government this long to make the announcement shows that it is incompetent and indecisive.
This is the general sentiment among several Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs, who slammed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over his uncertainty on the date of the announcement, which they said sums up the sluggish performance of Perikatan Nasional (PN) to date.
Muhyiddin had earlier said a more comprehensive assistance for all levels of society will be announced on Monday or Tuesday.
This follows the imminent extension of the movement control order (MCO), which is supposed to end tomorrow, after the country failed to reduce Covid-19 cases below the 4,000 mark, he added.
Speaking to The Vibes, Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said the comprehensive aid package, together with a systematic plan to fight the pandemic, should have been announced from the very beginning, when the current lockdown was imposed on June 1.
The DAP lawmaker said more businesses could have been saved, while a better approach to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases could have seen the economy opening up sooner.
Ong said the delayed roll-out of the aid package could be alluded to Muhyiddin’s wishful thinking that the lockdown will work in the same way as it did in March last year, despite the fact that more sectors are open today.
“The prime minister is probably hoping that the number of cases will come down to a level where he could open up the economy and not spend more money on the package.”
The former deputy international trade and industry minister said Muhyiddin’s failure to specify the exact date on which the aid announcement will be made shows that the government is clueless in its efforts to combat the pandemic.
“This means that the prime minister does not have a clear idea on when he can expect the number of cases to fall to the level that allows him to reopen part of the economy.
“It also tells me that he is facing tremendous pressure to open up parts of the economy.”
Comprehensive aid should have been announced mid-June at the latest
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the aid, when announced, will come “too little, too late”, with many already dead and even more lost their jobs since the current lockdown came into force.
The Lembah Pantai MP noted that from June 1 to 26, 2,089 individuals succumbed to Covid-19, while a staggering 156,195 individuals were infected by the deadly virus.
“We have also heard anecdotes of businesses shuttering and companies folding. For every day that the government delays (its assistance roll-out), the more irreparable the damage is on the economy and people.
“They should have made this comprehensive announcement at the very latest two weeks ago, when they extended the current MCO for the first time.”
Fahmi said the fundamental problem in the current PN government is that there seems to be no clear leadership in the administration, with every announcement always appearing vague.
The fact that the government has always been uncertain about its planning is a great injustice to Malaysians at a time of a historic health calamity, he added.
“This is not how a government treats its people. We pay taxes and demand to be treated better. I think Muhyiddin needs to pay attention to the mood of the rakyat.
“I feel that the biggest indicator of the people’s mood today is how swiftly hashtags have evolved on social media, not the kinds you raise in conversations in polite company,” he said, referring to the trending hashtags that include vulgarities.
Unacceptable that PM isn’t sure of announcement date
Amanah secretary-general Datuk Mohd Hatta Ramli said Muhyiddin’s indecision will put into question the government’s confidence in handling the health crisis.
The Lumut MP said the uncertainty would have been acceptable had it come from other cabinet members, but not the prime minister, considering he is the one expected to make that announcement.
“Perhaps he wants to get an opinion from feng shui masters on when is the best day,” he quipped.
“But in all seriousness, he is the prime minister, he should be sure. At this juncture, he just doesn’t have the confidence that there is a clear and complete preparation on handling the pandemic – in particular, the aid.”
Hatta said the only possible reason the government has been holding off announcing the assistance is due to overconfidence that the MCO will not last beyond one month.
“They must have thought that by the end of this month, cases would have been under control again, but there seems to be not much difference.”
In any case, Hatta said it is incumbent on the government to announce, among others, a minimum three-month blanket loan moratorium, as demanded by the majority of Malaysians.
“I think three months is the bare minimum. But looking at the current cases, and the possibility of an even lengthier MCO, the best would be for a moratorium of six months.”