PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak said today that the decision to allow domestic travel and ease Covid-19 restrictions in several states is an admission of failure to contain the virus crisis.
He said he believed that the focus of the government’s efforts was no longer about breaking the chain of virus infections but to mitigate the spread while waiting for a vaccine to become available.
Najib said the federal government must be prepared for vaccine supply shortages. He urged the federal government to work harder on obtaining supplies from other supplier companies, to ensure that all Malaysians receive the vaccine as soon as possible by next year.
“It is very difficult to say whether this new (mitigation) approach is right or not because the reality is, the country’s economy and the rakyat could no longer tolerate a continual conditional movement control order (CMCO),” he said.
He expected the government to ease more restrictions on economic and social activities but such an approach had its own shortcomings. “It is unlikely that the number of new local infections would drop to zero again, as was reported after the national MCO lockdown from March to May.”
He said Malaysia’s Covid-19 crisis was in a worse state than in Indonesia, and he quoted statistics that showed 2,234 cases per million population in Malaysia compared to 2,096 cases per million in Indonesia. The total number of Covid-19 cases (72,694) was expected to exceed China’s total of 86,619 in the next 10 days.
Najib said the surge of active cases would rule out a revival of foreign tourism as other countries would not allow their citizens to visit Malaysia, ruling out “travel bubbles” as had been planned with Singapore.
Yesterday, the government announced that restrictions on inter-district and inter-state travel would be lifted in most states beginning on Monday (Dec 7). Restrictions would apply only in red-zone localities and those areas under an enhanced movement control order.