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Letter: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

By the Malaysian Health Coalition
Full Signature List on myhealthcoalition.org

The Malaysian Health Coalition recognises that the government has received extraordinary powers to manage the pandemic, via the Emergency declaration (announced 12 January 2021) and the movement control order (MCO, announced 11 January 2021). 

We support any intention to protect the Rakyat’s (people’s) health. On our part, we will continue to fulfil our duty as health professionals and as citizens. On the government’s part, we demand that the government uses their powers responsibly and effectively to protect the Rakyat. 

We further demand the following:

  • Depoliticise Malaysia’s health services

The frontline health professionals who have tirelessly served the Rakyat throughout the pandemic must not be politicised. The government must prepare and deliver a basket of solutions that protects the Rakyat, cares for our frontliners and fights the pandemic. Many of these solutions have been previously proposed (see our statements on our website). While MCO can be one part of the COVID-19 response strategy, we do not support it as the main policy response, and do not accept any politicisation of the health system.

  • Deliver a long-term COVID-19 strategy

COVID-19 will be a multi-year pandemic, even with vaccines arriving soon. Therefore, the government must prepare and deliver a robust long-term plan to manage COVID-19 while allowing economic and public life to safely continue (refer to our previous statement on 8 January 2021). This includes engaging and collaborating with professional societies, private sector stakeholders, non-government bodies and citizens. We support the decision to convene an independent advisory panel for evidence-based decision-making on national COVID-19 management. We expect transparency in the decision-making process, and for health experts to be regularly consulted.

  • Assist the Rakyat in MCO states

There must be all-of-government coordination to provide the Rakyat with adequate financial and mental health support during the MCO. The economic impact of MCO 2.0 will be more severe. We also fear that calls to suicide prevention and domestic violence hotlines will spike as they did during the first MCO. Besides that, floods in several states have impacted healthcare delivery and many households’ ability to safely self-isolate. The government must provide adequate resources to support all vulnerable residents of Malaysia.

 

Malaysia needs predictability and stability to effectively fight the pandemic. The MCO only serves to buy us more time. The government must use this time and their extraordinary powers to deliver a long-term COVID-19 plan, consult experts, and avoid another MCO at all costs.

 

BERKHIDMAT UNTUK NEGARA. 

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