By Hafiz Hassan
THERE has been a number of report cards on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government following one year in office, including one by Muhammad Ashraf Sulaiman. https://bebasnews.my/?p=55440
To be honest, it has been a mixed bag of achievements and failures. But reading through the media, there has been much highlighting of PN’s achievements. There is nothing wrong here. But there should not be fear of discussing failures. Facing up to shortcomings is usually more productive.
One notable failure is in controlling the spread of Covid-19. Make no mistake: the government’s containment measures through the movement control order (MCO) were successful in flattening the curve of infections in the early stages of the pandemic last year.
But the turning point came with the Sabah elections in late September. As Ashraf put it, the euphoria did not last for long. The polls caused the increasing number of Sabah cases to spill over to Peninsular Malaysia. The SOPs (standard operating procedures) have seen flip flops that do not foster public trust which in turn does not attract community compliance.
Now, if Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking (the Ranking) is a measure of how the pandemic is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic disruption, then there is a lot of standing up to do by the PN government. As at February 25, Malaysia is ranked at 23 among 53 countries with a resilience score of 54.2.
This is a drop of 7 spots which put the country as one of the notable movers – downward. According to the Ranking, Malaysia falls seven spots “amid a continued outbreak and as economists adjust its 2021 GDP outlook down by over one percentage point to 5.5%, expecting a resurgence in unemployment.”
While Malaysia may still be ahead of major economies, it is only just. In Europe, Austria (24), Sweden (26) and Romania (31) jump 14, 14 and 10 spots respectively, while the United States jumps 8 spots up. So wealthy economies have climbed since November 2020.
The Ranking made its debut in November 2020 and Bloomberg explains that the Ranking scores economies of more than $200 billion on 11 core metrics: from growth in virus cases and the overall mortality rate to testing capabilities and vaccines. The capacity of the local health-care system, the impact of virus-related restrictions like lockdowns on the economy, and freedom of movement are also taken into account. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-resilience-ranking/
Bloomberg explains further that success “in containing Covid-19 with the least disruption appears to rely less on being able to order people into submission and more on governments fostering a high degree of trust and societal compliance.”
This perhaps explains why public trust over the government handling of the Covid-19 pandemic would be PN’s notable failure in its one-year report card.
Failure is not fatal, though. It is failure to change that might be.*
Hafiz Hassan is BebasNews’ reader
*Quoted from John Wooden’s “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
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