The Men of Keluarga Malaysia

Khairy Jamaluddin and Hamzah Zainuddin

MANY still think that when we went to vote on  May 9 2018, it was to vote in a government for the people by the people based on the political party the majority of whom had won the people’s confidence. 

This is due to the Alliance, and subsequently Barisan Nasional, being in power virtually unchallenged for 61 years, with two-thirds majority for the most part of it.

Three prime ministers later we know that that is not entirely true – that we voted in individuals no matter the party, those whom we think would be best to represent us in His Majesty’s government.

This government administers the nation on behalf of His Majesty, and leading its members is the Member of Parliament who has the greatest support, a constitutional concept that had become alien because of BN’s past political dominance.

It may not be the government that some voters want. It may not be the perfect government. Neither side of the political fence wants this government to work, and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri is not the choice of PM that his own party would like to have.

But this is the government that has the confidence of His Majesty, and this isthe face of the future for as long as no one political coalition has two-thirds majority in Parliament.

We can see who have been working in Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri’s administration, who have been shadow playing, and who are the deadbeats. 

Only two have caught my eye. They are, to me, those who work for the Keluarga Malaysia concept.

Datuk Seri Hamzah  Zainudin

This former Umno minister is seen by his former party as a traitor for jumpingship seven months after the BN administration fell. Datuk Seri Hamzah did not hold any ministerial post during the Pakatan Harapan administration.

He was made the Home Affairs Minister during the Muhyiddin Yassin administration and has continued holding this portfolio since.

Apart from the episode with former IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, there is very little noise regarding Hamzah. From the Muhyiddin administration Hamzah is seen doing his job as the Home Affairs Minister, even taking a different route compared to his predecessors. 

For instance, working hand-in-hand with Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan, Hamzah has done away with the need for third-party involvement in legalising illegal immigrants for selected industries. This greatly reduces corrupt acts involved in the process of registering these workers as we have seen in the past.

His penchant for “seeing things for himself” has allowed him to assist government agencies and departments under his Ministry in providing the best of services directly to the people. 

Immediately after the landslide tragedy in Yan, Kedah last year, as well as after the recent floods, he urged the Royal
Malaysian Police, the National Registration Department, as well as the Immigration Department to deploy their mobile police station and counters to enable victims who have lost their personal documents to make police reports and obtain new personal documents without having to travel tens of miles to get things done. And these services were provided for free for the victims. Such initiatives augured well with the people.

Interesting to note is that when he went to visit victims to present aid, he did not drown himself in self-promotion exercise like other politicians would.

Instead, he chose to portray himself as representing the Prime Minister and the Keluarga Malaysia initiative. What this demonstrates is his political maturity in putting aside political and party differences in order to fulfil his duty as a Minister in His Majesty’s Government, chosen by a Prime Minister who is from a different political coalition.

Hamzah may be the Secretary-General for Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional, but I view him as a strategist who knows when to fight it out when needed so, but also when to put self-political interest aside to make sure that the government that he is a part of, truly works for the people.

Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar

Many would disagree with me over this choice, especially those in Umno who see him as one of those who was against  Datuk Seri Najib Razak before the previous general election. Ten years ago, I would not write this too, but I have to look at things objectively since I do not belong to any political party.

Khairy is seen as ambitious. Those at the top are eager to see his political career end. Even Umno’s No.2 Datuk Seri  Mohamad Hasan, otherwise known as Tok Mat, has already announced his plan to contest in Khairy’s parliamentary seat of Rembau, leaving the latter with nowhere to go in Negeri Sembilan.

If it is true that Umno is eager to bury Khairy, then the Grand Old Party is just that – grand by resting on its laurels and old; the bitter lessons of GE14 very quickly forgotten. It is a party with 3.35 million members that had failed to hold on to its power in 2018 despite its size – all because it could not read the sentiments on the ground.

When Umno and the Barisan Nasional fell out of favour with the voters, I had expected to see Khairy jump ship. I would have lost some money had I bet on that. Instead, Khairy did not budge. Even as he was ridiculed by those from within his party, Khairy held on and played his role as an Opposition MP. I looked at the Internet to see what people said of him then and immediately knew that many wished Khairy was not from Umno.

Then, Covid-19 hit our shores. A month and a half later the Pakatan Harapan fell and Khairy was made Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation in the Muhyiddin administration. He was tasked with spearheading and managing the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme or PICK, sometime doling out more than half a million doses of vaccines a day nationwide.

He was also spotted at vaccination centres several times helping the volunteers registering vaccine recipients.

As of Jan 19 2022, PICK has fully-vaccinated almost 80 percent of the population and almost 31 percent have received their booster dose.

Now as the Health Minister in the Ismail Sabri administration, Khairy goes down to government hospitals and clinics unannounced to see for himself the problems health front-liners face on a daily basis, especially situations exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only that, he also faces the public every now and then, and allow them to vent out at him.

Again, praises from the normal Janes and Joes drown noises made by detractors – those from within his own party, and the anti-vaxxers. Even so, Khairy continues to soldier on undistracted. His record speaks for himself. As at Jan 20 2022, the death rate in Malaysia compared to unvaccinated people is 25 times lower for those fully vaccinated and 148 times lower for those who have received their booster dose. Now in a true Keluarga Malaysia style, Khairy is concentrating on vaccinating children between the age of five and 12.

Umno has to realise that it is not going to be party members that will win them the next general election, but the support of the ordinary voters who vote based on what they now like in a candidate rather than the party symbols that the candidate represent.

Both Hamzah and Khairy are politicians who work for the people that you would wish to see more of in the future, instead of going back to what was before. My only wish is that all the ministers that we have now are of the same calibre.

(This article first appeared on The Mole )

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

doctor

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!