Why Are We Purposely Losing the COVID-19 War?

COVID-19 patients in a High Dependency Unit (courtesy of Bloomberg)

On Day 1 MCO: our 10-day average number of cases was 146 cases per day.
On Day 10 it was 159 cases per day.
On Day 20 it was 170.
On Day 30 it was 69.
On Day 40 it was 40. All the above were during the full MCO.

On Day 50, we introduced the Conditional MCO. The 10-day average number of daily new cases was 39 cases per day.

On Day 60 it was 22.
On Day 70 it was 15.
On Day 80 it went up to 37. And on 10 June 2020 we allowed interstate travel.

On Day 90 it was 11 cases.
On Day 100 it was 6 cases.
On Day 110 it was 5 cases.
On Day 120 it was 3 cases. We were winning the war. Or so we thought.

On Day 130 (26 July 2020) we allowed the Tourism industry to reopen. The 10-day average daily new cases was at 13. The Sabah State Assembly was dissolved on 29 July 2020.

On Day 140 it was at 21.
On Day 150 it was 26.
On Day 160 it went down to 11.
On Day 170 it was still at 11. Unofficial campaigning in Sabah was in full swing. 8 days later (12 September 2020) the Benteng Cluster was identiified.

Day 180 it was at 31. 8 days later on 22 September 2020, MOH announces three clusters in Sabah and one in Kedah (Benteng, Sungai, Pulau and Selamat).

On Day 190 (24 September 2020), it is already at 71 cases per day. 777 people were under treatment. 3 days later (27 September 2020), the number of cases under treatment was 950: an average of 58 new patients per day in three days. In September 2020 till yesterday, we’ve had 7 deaths bringing the total to 134 deaths.

The Ministry of Health for some reason has not quarantined those returning from Sabah at quarantine centers; instead, relying on Malaysians who are lazy enough to turn on their signal indicator before changing lanes on the roads to be disciplined enough to perform home self-quarantine.

On Day 113 (9 July 2020) we had only 63 people nationwide being treated for COVID-19. Yesterday, 80 days later on Day 193, we were treating 950. I shudder what the numbers will be like in the next two weeks following the conclusion of the Sabah State Election.

COVID-19: When the Government Goofed

MCO Day 141 (5 August 2021):

We started MCO with a 10-day average of 146 cases per day, followed by 159 cases per day 10 days later, and peaked at 170 cases per day 10 days following that. The number of those being treated peaked at 2,596 on 5 April 2020. The highest number of daily new cases was 235 on 26 March 2020 (MCO +9).

The numbers went down to 37 cases per day 4 days before the commencement of the current RMCO (PKPP). 36 days after the RMCO came into effect, the number of cases per day on a 10-day average dropped to 3. The number of those being treated was 1,551. Everyone was happy.

56 days after the RMCO came into effect, the average number of daily new cases on a 10-day average has increased to 21. 8 people have died since. The number of those being treated went down to 63 on 9 July 2020. It is now at 196.

Things became too relaxed too soon. The government goofed when it trusted people who cannot even signal before changing lanes or turn into an exit, to do self-quarantine at home.

Now, Kedah police say they cannot fully enforce the lockdown of those areas affected by the Sivagangga cluster because of the existence of ‘jalan tikus’.

Hoping For Better Healthcare


Among the more important aspects of welfare that the government has to look after without fail is healthcare.  Fortunately, public healthcare in Malaysia already has a good foundation.  The only thing that needs to be done is for it to be better enhanced.

Among the issues that has to be addressed is of the issue of the glut of medical practitioners in this country.  Every year, about 5,000 new doctors are produced, including 1,000 from overseas universities and colleges.  The problem now is that these new doctors have to do two years of housemanship in government hospitals before they can be recognised as general practitioners.  The problem is, government hospitals could only take in 10,000 housemen at any one time.  Therefore, new doctors would have to wait between eight months to a year before they could do their housemanship.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s recent announcement that the Klinik 1 Malaysia will be enhanced by locating doctors and proper drug-dispensing units could help the situation.  Not only that, it would alleviate the congestion that we see at almost all Klinik Kesihatan on a daily basis.  There are 196 Klinik 1 Malaysia currently operating on a 24-hour basis manned by an Assistant Medical Officer and nurses.  Having at least twelve doctors doing three eight-hour shifts would allow for more medical graduates to be absorbed.

If the financing mechanism could be formulated, the Skim Peduli Sihat nationwide extension could also help private clinics, especially those in the urban and suburban areas whose business is affected by the presence of Klinik 1 Malaysia.  The idea is for the B40 group to be able to seek basic healthcare at private clinics for RM500 per family per year, or for individuals above the age of 21 earning above RM1,500 a month, RM200 per person per year.  This would certainly help private clinics and help alleviate the congestion at Klinik Kesihatan.

I certainly hope that the government would roll these initiatives out soon.  The government must be seen to be serious in making reforms, and not look back and blame the previous government.  Pakatan Harapan is now the government and has all the means to improve the situation.  For now, Dr Dzul is on the right track.  I hope he would be able to move forward with healthcare reforms.

Investigating The Hospital Sultanah Aminah Tragedy – Part 2

There is a huge possibility that the culprit of the tragedy is electrical fire.  In a previous article I discovered that out of the five fire incidents prior to the tragedy, three were electrical fires, the last incident bekng on the 15th October 2016. What I discovered next is alarming:

A Harian Metro headline of a scoop that was first exposed by TV9’s daring and no-nonsense senior broadcast journalist Zulhazri Abu Bakar

We wonder if fire prevention and electrical safety audits took place at the Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) at all. The Minister of Health, in a briefing to the members of the Dewan Rakyat assured us that it has been done.

Impressive! Electrical maintenance is being done every quarter, half yearly and annually.

But look at how messy the wiring is, and this photo was taken after the second electrical fire incident that occurred in the Operating Theatre on the First Level. Let us take a closer look:

The above does not resemble The quality of electrical work done by a person certified by the Energy Commission to carry out such works. And by the look of it, this has definitely gone through several annual electrical inspection and maintenance schedules but obviously no corrective action has been taken. My question is, were the scheduled audits and maintenance mere paper exercises? Or in the words of safety practitioners – tick the boxes exercise?

According to the JBPM statistics collected between 1990 and 2002, electrical fire is the largest contributor of fire incidents. Regulation 67 of the Electricity Supply (Regulation) Act, 1990 requires a minimum of one inspection per month by a competent person of electrical installations not exceeding 600 Volts!

For larger voltage installations it is obvious that the frequency has to be increased! All these regulations are in place to provide the guidelines for building owners to perform routine inspections and maintenance to minimise incidents of electrical fires!

Obviously the concessionaire tasked with ensuring that everything is in good order, Medivest Sdn Bhd (formerly known as both Tongkah Medivest and then Pantai Medivest) had not done its job as required! The Energy Commission’s Regional Director Idris Jamaludin was spotted heading a nine-men team of electrical and gas experts into the HSA and we anxiously await their findings.

The Minister continues:

The HSA had requested last month for a fire drill to be conducted. This request I was told, was turned down by the Fire and Rescue Services Department (JBPM) because the HSA was not equipped with a fire-fighting systems control panel and nor were there the respective floor plans included in its fire safety plan! 

How could fire drills be conducted if the fire safety plan is not complete? Which begs a question from me – when was the last Fire Certificate issued to the HSA?

Word has it that between 2014 and 2016, no fire and evacuation drill nor fire-fighting training was ever conducted. The last drill and training that was recorded was in 2009! Therefore it is safe to say that the last Fire Certificate was obtained then! How is it possible that Medivest Sdn Bhd, a company that was given the 30-year concession to maintain the operational safety of our hospitals be allowed to do things against whatever safety laws and regulations that are there to protect lives and government properties? Are they not suppose to conduct at least one training per annum as briefed to the Dewan by the Minister?

This is by no means a witch hunt. This is borne out of frustration and the utter disbelief that such complacency and incompetence are allowed to flourishby especially the state health department and the top management of Medivest Sdn Bhd.

Lives have been lost! Dozens more affected by their loss and injury! Millions of Ringgits worth of government properties have been lost because some people do not do their job as expected!

Heads therefore must roll!