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“We Cannot Follow Normal Procedures Under Abnormal Circumstances”

“We Cannot Follow Normal Procedures Under Abnormal Circumstances”

Hishammuddin’s reflections on managing an unprecedented pandemic.

Maya Suraya

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Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on his website today (13 June) shared his reflections on how the country should manage an unprecedented pandemic.

He is currently in quarantine after deemed a close contact by the Ministry of Health (MOH), to a person who has been found positive for COVID-19 PCR. Hishammuddin shares his thoughts as the nation is about to go through another lockdown saying the feeling is very different from the first MCO in March 2020.

He wrote that at the time, we knew nothing regarding the pandemic and “we allowed the fear of the unknown and the intolerance of uncertainty get the better of us”.

We picked ourselves up and strengthened ties with other countries

The priority of the Foreign Ministry, at the time, was to bring loved one’s home. While at the same time focusing on sourcing basic needs such as face masks, ventilators, and hospital beds from their partners globally.


Striking the right balance between lives and livelihoods

According to Hishammuddin, with the unknown no longer as mysterious as it was last year, we may have lost that delicate balance between prioritizing public health and Malaysia’s economic interests.

With that said, he suggests three simple suggestions on what we should focus on to bring us out of this ‘pandemic paradox’:

1. Movement Control Order (MCO) – There should be no more changes and remain consistent on the existing SOPs. He notes that “unnecessary and reactive changes will put everything we have achieved thus far at risk“.

2. Vaccination rollout – Consider expanding the vaccine arsenal. Malaysia has only approved the use of Pfizer, Sinvovac and AstraZeneca and Hishammuddin suggests if the World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sinopharm for worldwide emergency use, then why can’t Malaysia?

3. Greater mass testing – Mass testing allows us to test, trace and isolate quickly – to better manage outbreaks all over the country. To achieve this, Hishammuddin suggests either increase our lab capacities, procure more test kits, or subsidise testing for the masses.

In summary, Hishammuddin believes in an integrated approach to public health with a main goal for a systematic transition out of the pandemic for Malaysians to return to normalcy.

And in case you missed it:

READ MORE: Hishammuddin: Who Is This Man Who Has To Keep Denying He’s The Next PM?

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