Monday, March 8, 2021

Fight against Covid-19 will fail if political crisis continues, says analyst

Azmi Hassan points to the Sabah election as an example of how political factors outweighed public health interests.

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A political analyst warns that the public health crisis which has seen a spike in number of Covid-19 cases of late may become worse if the political crisis continues.

Azmi Hassan said efforts to contain the pandemic which has so far claimed 376 lives have been disrupted by the political situation.

“The Sabah state election is one example of how political factors outweighed public health interests,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“Because politicians had a crisis, the public health situation could not be handled well.”

He also said the notion that the political crisis deserves more attention than the problem of Covid-19 was beginning to upset the people, whom he said were becoming increasingly fed up with the endless drama.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a nationwide address on Oct 6 had voiced concern about the spike in Covid-19 cases following the Sabah election on Sept 26.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah meanwhile had warned that reducing the R-naught or infectivity rate of the virus would fail without the cooperation of everyone in playing their roles.

“The problem the government faces right now is how to focus on economic issues and on the fight against Covid-19 when its legitimacy is being questioned every day.”

There had been concerns that the 2021 budget would be sabotaged by a group of MPs facing corruption charges in court, in order to cause the collapse of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and forcing pandemic-season snap polls.

The budget bill was however passed at the policy stage last Thursday through voice vote following a failed attempt by the opposition to force a bloc vote.

As of yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat had passed the budget bills for 11 ministries at the committee level with 16 left to go.

Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said there would be no end to the political crisis as long as the legitimacy of the PN government remains in question.

“The problem the government faces right now is how to focus on economic issues and on the fight against Covid-19 when its legitimacy is being questioned every day – is this government legitimate or not?” he told MalaysiaNow.

“I hope the debate on the 2021 budget this time will resolve things. If, for example, the budget is passed, the opposition and other parties will lose the moral ground to say that the government is illegitimate.”

If the budget is shot down, Muhyiddin as prime minister would have to present himself to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and resign honourably, he said.

“Let the King who has the authority to do so decide what should be done. Then hopefully, the political crisis will be resolved.”

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