Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Malaysians to do their part in breaking the chain of Covid-19 infection, echoing warnings by health authorities that the country could go down the path of nations like India which is battling a massive surge in cases that experts have said may not peak for weeks to come.
“I appeal to Malaysians of all races and across political loyalties, let’s bring down the possibility of getting infected and follow the SOPs,” he said in a video shared on Facebook.
“If possible, let’s just stay home.”
He added that Malaysians must take the situation in the country seriously.
“If we are not careful, we could become like India or Brazil where hundreds of thousands are infected on a daily basis. Many were just abandoned, and most of them have died.”
Last week, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at his first press conference in some two months, said Malaysia should learn from the experience of India, which despite announcing an initial victory over the pandemic has seen a huge increase in infections and deaths.
Attributing the explosion of daily cases to massive gatherings including for election campaigns and religious celebrations, he said pre-emptive action must be taken in the country to curb any further increase in infections.
“Before the tsunami of Covid-19 strikes us, we must adhere to SOPs again, get the vaccines as soon as possible. Insha Allah, we will step up our ability to increase our supply, and we must avoid travelling interstate, and the health ministry’s advice is, stay home unless there are important matters to attend to.”
He also said the state of emergency declared in January had allowed the country to avoid elections such as the Sarawak state polls which would otherwise be held in June, adding that any move to hold elections would mean gatherings being held.
Mahathir said it was important for people to obey the directive barring gatherings during Hari Raya.
“We don’t need to visit the homes of our friends or relatives. They could be infected, or we could be infected, because of these visits.
“We need to be patient during Hari Raya this year because we want to see the infections reduced,” he added.
He said when the country was first hit by the virus, everyone had stayed home without going out.
“We controlled ourselves for a month, and within a month the infections were reduced.
“On the other hand, when we had the Sabah election, many from the peninsula went there to campaign and to attend all kinds of events where there were many people.
“As we know, once the election was over and they returned to the peninsula, the number of those with the virus increased drastically.”