Those who managed the pandemic must be held accountable, says Murray Hunter, who indicated that this article of his was the most read in 2023 with more than 28,000 reads, yet there are still many questions unanswered, especially about the need for the MCO, the vaccines and the procurement processes that come with it.
As the Covid-19 pandemic is becoming endemic, the actions and decisions made by key government members at the time, must be reviewed. (Editor’s note: With an intro like that, it is no wonder that it was the most read article by Murray Hunter as citizens the world over share the same views about their respective governments pertaining to the MCOs and the Vaccines.)
According to government statistics, the Covid-19 pandemic tragically cost the lives of more than 36,000 Malaysians. We are now seeing the collateral damage resulting from the Movement Control Orders (MCOs), which include growing poverty and business bankruptcies. The number of households in abject poverty, rose from 27,158 in 2019 to 136,000 in 2022.
This should be a major concern for the current government.
With Covid-19 relief packages amounting to over RM 600 billion over the last three years, public debt rose to 61.3 percent of GDP, as at September 2022. Money supply increased 25 percent over the pandemic, resulting in a leap in inflation, particularly hitting the food sector hard.
There are a number of issues related to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic that should not be let pass.
Corruption and Leakage of Funds
Nearly RM 600 billion was used by the former Muhyiddin Yassin government, to procure items required for the management of Covid-19 and provide financial relief to assist citizens, between 2020-2022. Due to the existence of an emergency decree, much for the RM 600 billion was spent outside the purview of cabinet.
Last December, prime minister Anwar Ibrahim broke the news that there were ‘serious breaches of procedure’ in government spending during that time.
Anwar elaborated upon these breaches of procedure, stating that money was laundered through crony companies, which acted as Ali Baba or middle-men between the government and contractor and suppliers. These procurements were made well above prevailing market rates.
Anwar said some of these funds were used by Perikatan Nasional during the GE15 campaign.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) opened up an investigation early December and found RM 300 million in the Bersatu central bank account. We still don’t know how much was in state branch and individual accounts.
Bad planning or intended over purchasing?
Rationale of the MCOs
Muhyiddin proclaimed a number of MCOs during the pandemic, in an attempt to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus through the community. These draconian measures caused much collateral damage, even preventing those who needed medical treatment from seeking it. Serious mental health issues grew within the community, with increased family abuse. Financial damage was extensive.
Kita mudah lupa (We easily forget).
The scientific rationale for the MCOs must be released to the public for transparency. People have suffered and need to know that the home isolation really did play some positive role in the fight against Covid-19. Otherwise, the MCOs were an abuse of power by the then sitting government.
Muhyiddin and the director general of the ministry of health, Nor Hisham Abdullah must advise what information they acted upon.
Were the MCOs based upon firm scientific assessment, or were they based upon a whim of following other countries in a blind manner?
This shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Where did RM 600 billion really go?
Procurement of the Vaccines
More and more evidence is emerging by the day, that pharmaceutical companies paid governments and officials to secure the sale of their vaccines. In the light of growing evidence, the vaccine procurement process requires a thorough review, and explanation by the then health minister Khairy Jamaluddin and DG of the Health ministry Nor Hisham Abdullah.
Many pregnant women and their off-spring are suffering adverse effects now. Pfizer cautions pregnant women over the vaccine.
Vaccine safety issues and the role of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA)
Independent reappraisal of Pfizer vaccine trial data has found that 1 person in 800 is likely experiencing adverse side effects from the vaccine.
It is necessary to review how the NPRA came to approve the use of the Pfizer vaccine upon the general population of Malaysia. Once again, the DG of health Nor Hisham must answer this query.
It must also be noted that the present (then) minister of health Dr Zaliha Mustafa is still promoting vaccines to Malaysia’s general population, even though the extent of adverse side effects is now clearly known from recent scientific data on mRNA vaccines. Pfizer in a press release on 27 January have also raised these concerns and put question upon about the efficacy of their own product.
Why hasn’t the current minister of health (at the time of publication, Zaliha was the Minister of Health, it has now changed to Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad) revised her recommendation in the light of this new information emerging? The UK government has quietly dispensed with its mRNA vaccination program, and the Thai government is in discussion to make their contract null and void with Pfizer, over safety issues.
The safety of Malaysians must be Dr Zaliha’s prime consideration.
The magnitude of alleged corruption during the Covid-19 crisis, makes this the largest financial scandal Malaysia has ever seen. It is almost five times larger than the 1MDB scandal. The rationale behind the MCOs needs an urgent explanation, given the rise in government debt, and the hardship suffered by people across the country. Finally, the dealings done between government and the pharmaceutical companies needs to be investigated by the MACC.
The use of mRNA vaccines needs another review to keep Malaysians safe.
There is an urgent need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into these matters, which have done so much damage to the nation. Anything less than an RCI is a cover up to protect those who managed the pandemic. – Murray Hunter (lifted from the original article with minor editions.)