Beyond stupid – lockdown should be imposed weeks earlier

‘This was a preventable mistake. What is done cannot be undone.’

Three-phase ‘total lockdown’ to kick off on June 1

OCT: The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government never listen and never learn.

This was a preventable mistake. What is done cannot be undone.

Vaccination needs to be speeded up as MCO 4.0 will not help much. Those countries which vaccinated their citizens aggressively have their infection and death rates reduced considerably so much so that business can resume and the economy recovered.

Malaysia is in a real mess from virus control to vaccination. When these two approaches fail, prepare for disaster.

Samtan: Muhyiddin is no different from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both allow state elections and religious festivals. Both were against imposing nationwide lockdown.

Now both Malaysians and Indians suffer the consequences of their action.

Anon25: A total of 2,552 deaths in one and a half years due to Covid-19. That is not a big number. There are more deaths each year from heart disease, stroke, cancer and road accidents. So why the panic?

Lockdowns will cause irreparable harm to the economy as Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had warned. We cannot afford that.

This pandemic is like a war. In war, we must bite the bullet and accept casualties. But the economy, the lifeblood of the nation, must persevere and prevail.

PM, do not yield to the calls of the emotional. Listen to your finance minister. Listen to common sense.

Newday: @Anon25, it is not right to compared Covid-19 to heart disease, stroke, cancer and road accidents.

Do our hospitals and ICU wards stretch thin because of these other deaths? Do we need to install additional refrigerated containers to store dead bodies with these other deaths? The resounding answer is no!

Also, our Covid crisis reduces our medical staff’s ability to treat other serious health issues. This probably is, and definitely will, result in more deaths from heart disease, stroke, etc.

Yes, war it is. But the collateral damage in this case is due to poor and careless decision-making.

YellowRusa5552: No amount of aid from this ‘kerajaan gagal’ (failed government) is going to alleviate the mental agony that people in the B40 (bottom 40 percent) have to go through. No work, no money – that is as cruel as it gets!

And the people who sit comfortably at the top still don’t get it – that the people are suffering and the economy is currently in ICU.

Clearwater: @YellowRusa5552, everyone suffers in this lockdown, rich and poor, differentiated only by the degree of suffering.

Of course, those with less endure more and have to grapple with financial problems after the pandemic runs its course.

The virus does not differentiate between the financially rock solid and the destitute, only between those who observe SOPs and those who don’t.

A month plus ago when restrictions were relaxed, a group of well-off acquaintances caught Covid while celebrating at a high-end restaurant.

The moral of the story is – don’t let your guard down.

Pleb: Lockdowns are supposed to be implemented much, much earlier, not this late.

Other countries are proactive in this at the beginning, when active cases and daily cases are accumulating, and not this late. Our government is incompetent by wavering from one decision to another.

This lockdown will definitely be more than two weeks based on daily cases. Two months or more is more like it.

Anonymous_15897060865429524: As usual, they think lockdown is a magic bullet. Relying only on lockdown will not be enough.

And why can’t they plan the details first and announce the full details in one go? Why always announce something half-baked and then say details will be announced later?

It shows that they are reactive rather than proactive. They do first, then think later. Every. Single. Time.

Cogito Ergo Sum: Muhyiddin, this should have been done a long time ago.

You had placed incompetents like Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to helm essential services, including health and vaccination programmes and it all backfired.

This is the worst administration in the history of Malaysia. And you dare label it a Malay Unity government? Your programmes are killing Malaysians at an alarming rate. This is totally unacceptable.

And the tragedy is that you will still cling on to power with the same clowns running the country to the ground.

YellowCobra7554: Let our dear Malay brothers never forget what a Malay-Muslim government looks like. More Covid cases, more deaths, more economic failure.

Do you finally understand that it will take all of us Malaysians working together to build a prosperous country?

This is what happens when you exclude your fellow countrymen, and demonise and oppress them. This is what happens when you are selfish and jealous to the point of wanting to see your own people in power.

If this is what you want, keep voting for the likes of Umno and Bersatu and PAS. If you want change, be brave and accept that we all live here and we all have a stake in this country.

RM40bil lockdown package too small, say economistswhatsapp sharing button

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An extended wage subsidy programme will increase disposable income and boost consumer spending, says economist Geoffrey Williams.

PETALING JAYA: Economists say the RM40 billion Pemerkasa Plus aid package announced by the government yesterday is too small to effectively help people and businesses tide over the lockdown.

Malaysia University of Science and Technology’s Geoffrey Williams said the movement control orders (MCOs) announced this year were projected to cost RM57.9 billion, citing Putrajaya’s estimated daily costs.

This total lockdown was estimated to cost at least RM33.6 billion for the two weeks, followed by RM15.5 billion for the four weeks under Phase 2 of the MCO.

With only RM5 billion of direct fiscal injection, he told FMT that there were too many “small and meaningless” grants and credits which were short-term and insignificant, such as the RM100 for singles, and micro-credit loans.

Geoffrey Williams.

Loans still have to be repaid, he said, adding that he would have preferred if more money was spent on the wage subsidy programme, which will only be extended by a month under the package.

“The wage subsidy should last for the expected period of the lockdown and recovery, which is longer than a month. This will support disposable income and consumer spending and help demand, which is what companies need.

“It should be phased out as the economy recovers later in the year and not stopped abruptly,” he said.

Williams said he would have preferred B40 and M40 households to be given up to RM1,500 a month in handouts until December, since herd immunity is projected to only be achieved then.

He said this would cost Putrajaya about RM60 billion but would benefit 2.9 million households in each category.

While acknowledging the necessity to have funds directed towards public healthcare infrastructure in view of the worsening pandemic, he said there was very little allocated elsewhere.

Barjoyai Bardai.

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak’s Barjoyai Bardai said the package made sense, citing the one-off handout for taxi and bus drivers and increased Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat aid as good moves from Putrajaya.

But he, too, felt that the package was too small, saying it would require more than RM5 billion in fiscal injection to help the estimated 8.5 million households in the nation.

He told FMT the increased aid for households should be enough, unless the lockdown prolongs beyond two weeks.

“But after this, when they progress to Phase 2 and 3 of the MCO, they should be announcing more packages, especially if the lockdown is prolonged,” he said.

Bumiputera Retailers Organisation president Ameer Ali Mydin said the government has listened to the needs of the small businesses and B40.

Ameer Ali Mydin.

“We want to thank the Perikatan Nasional-led government for helping retailers affected by the present situation,” he said.

However, he hoped that the moratorium for SMEs would be automatic rather than opt-in and would be extended to the end of the year.

“It should be opt-out rather than opt-in. We also request that the moratorium is on a cost-of-fund basis, whereby banks forego their profits from the loan for these three months.”

Ameer also said that mid-tier and even bigger companies which have been affected should be included in the loan moratorium.

“The rakyat appreciates that our ministers and deputies have taken a three-month pay cut. I hope the top executives of our GLCs and banks who are making billions in profits will also take a pay cut and contribute towards the Covid-19 fund,” he said.

He also hoped the government would increase the utility bill discount from 10% to 50%.  – FMT