“I simply do not see how Budget 2021 can be considered a people-centric budget and how the implementation of a nationwide CMCO will benefit the nation. I see it as testimony that Muhyiddin is lost and knows not what he is doing”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
محي الدين ده سست…
I fully agree with Iskandar Puteri Member of Parliament Lim Kit Siang that widening the conditional movement control order (CMCO) to encompass six more states isn’t only impractical, the Government of Malaysia (GoM) may end up doing more harm than good for the people.
According to the senior Lim, the GoM must take into account lessons from the past ten months of fighting Covid-19 “with greater flexibility,” allowing Malaysians to live with the pandemic without destroying livelihoods, and hopes for economic recovery.
“In Johor, there are three districts which are green, i.e. without a single case, namely Balu Pahat, Mersing and Segamat; while there are six districts which are in the yellow zone. i.e. with one to 14 cases in the last 14 days, namely Kluang, Kulai, Tangkak, Kota Tinggi, Pontian and Muar. There is only one district which is in red zone, i.e. with more than 40 cases in the last 14 days.
“We must have the flexibility of movement control where there is greater movement control for Johor Baru district but which spares the green districts of Batu Pahat, Mersing and Segamat which have no Covid-19 cases, or even the seven districts of Kluang, Kulai, Tangkak, Kota Tinggai, Pontian and Muar which are in the yellow zone,” he said.
Lim is spot on.
To begin with, the Health Director General isn’t exactly an economist or a political expert per se and couldn’t possibly have a clear understanding on how to properly incorporate the effects of Covid-19 into the the national equation on recovery and stability.
Human-lives is an important consideration, but so is the ability for the general public to weather the pandemic economically and survive post-Covid-19.
It is therefore incumbent upon the GoM to make sure that health-driven restrictions do not overwhelm the people, to the extent that the the restrictions pose more health, socio-economic and socio-political risks than the pandemic itself.
As it is, hundreds upon thousands of Malaysians are losing jobs, and hundreds upon thousands more are expected to lose theirs in the months to come.
This translates into social, health and economic risks, and crime rates are bound to skyrocket over the months. This itself poses an additional risk as the country is overwhelmed with desperate breadwinners at wits end to put bread on the table.
And this is just one of the many problems the country has to contend with, as the increasing lack of ability for many citizens to manage their health concerns is bound to pose problems sooner or later, translating into billions of taxpayer ringgits spent on healthcare.
Budget 2021 does not seem to have considered this, and this itself is a clear indicator that the national budget isn’t exactly a contingency budget and that the GoM hasn’t really done its homework.
By right, the administration of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should have assembled a Task Force comprising politicians, economic experts, medical experts and officials from agencies with the right data at their fingertips to help chart the course towards a “Balanced Recovery Initiative” (BRI) that encompasses all aspects of natural human life and the well being of the nation.
And it certainly makes no economic sense whatsoever to broaden control measures across the country as the bulk of districts nationwide are not Covid-19 hotspots.
Muhyiddin is simply putting undue pressure upon our coffers, as the money spent on CMCO’s in non-hotspots should instead be channelled to “paid re-skilling programs.”
Not only would these programs help hundreds upon thousands of retrenched workers to acquire new skillsets, they will help increase the net-worth of the workforce while ensuring that those who cannot get jobs are well fed for a sufficient period of time, effectively keeping crime rates in check.
But we don’t see such initiatives, which begs the question if Budget 2021 is well capacitated to help Malaysia weather the climate of fear we now live in.
It is this climate which is helping big pharmaceutical industries rake in billions, coming atop the billions they already make in a given financial year.
And it is this climate which is causing many small and medium scaled industries to “hold on to their money” by retrenching far more workers than circumstances require them to.
The more the pharmacies make, the more the GoM makes. And because the money is made out of fear, it is, in a manner of putting it, a “fear tax.” Money obtained in such a manner isn’t exactly doing justice to the people and should instead be used in ways that help them directly.
It is for this reason, above all, that Muhyiddin should have channeled the “fear tax” towards struggling businesses by providing them free temperature scanners and to the jobless by introducing “paid re-skilling programs.”
I simply do not see how Budget 2021 can be considered a people-centric budget and how the implementation of a nationwide CMCO will benefit the nation. I see it as testimony that Muhyiddin is lost and knows not what he is doing.