Opinion: Open our country and economy by mid-year

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country economy The visitors at a mall in Kuala Lumpur. PIX: AFIQ HAMBALI / MalaysiaGazette / 27 DECEMBER 2020. Covid-19 MCO 2.0 economic health opinion
(Pictures for representational purposes only). The visitors at a mall in Kuala Lumpur. PIX: AFIQ HAMBALI / MalaysiaGazette / 27 DECEMBER 2020.

The following article is submitted to the Editorial of Malaysia Gazette by reader, Lukman Sheriff Alias.

My countrymen,

As I sit and discuss with friends and colleagues, I fear for our future. I fear for our nation. I fear for our well being.

We seemed lost, my countryman. Preoccupied by political sideshows. Engrossed with false pride. Enmeshed in pettiness. Not knowing what we want.

We seemed to be drown in a sea of misfortune and mishaps. Struggling and grasping for air to live. Daily we are reminded of the thousands of new Covid-19 patients. Daily, we hear worrying stories of overloaded hospitals and facilities. Stories of Covid-19 positive patients waiting at wits’ end for their beds at hospitals and even ambulances to pick them up.

While we suffer health wise, our economy rambles listlessly uncertain of future. Though we avoid the pain of a total closure as in the first MCO, the economy is stuttering. We see less people at the malls. We see stalls sprouting like mushrooms. We see shops without customers. We see empty hotels. People losing jobs. People losing means to support their family.

And what is to become of our children? Their education is in tatters because of Covid-19. Schools unable to be fully opened. Regular classes unable to be conducted. Exams and assessments unable to be properly taken. We would have a generation of our children being deprived of an effective education during this time.

And while we are overwhelmed and engrossed daily with the problems above, we forgot to ask ourselves one basic fundamental question; for how long more can we and our country endure going like this? Can we continue this way or worse, with a stricter MCO if the numbers are still increasing, until August or year end? I don’t think so, my countrymen. Many more would die, literally and figuratively. More businesses will have to close. More people will have to be retrenched and be out of work. We don’t want this.

We need to be clear of what we want? Of what we want the government to do. We can’t wait until year end for our country to be vaccinated and recover.

We want our country to be back on its feet by mid year. We want to see our country to be practically fully opened by mid year. For our country to be vaccinated by mid year. For Covid-19 to be curbed long before that. In six months’ time we want to be able to move freely to travel interstate and overseas. To receive tourists. To do business away and from the country.

In six months, we want to see our economy on the mend. With more business and employment opportunities. With hotels and tourists spots beginning to be visited. With malls filled and cinemas full. With events, conferences, weddings and even tahlils being carried out. With every mosque being able to be opened without restriction for Friday and congregational prayers.

And in six months, we want to see our children in school with regular classes and extra-curricular activities without parents being worried of infections. Our playgrounds be filled with children’s laughter. And our children no longer confined within the four walls of their homes.

We want our country to be opened and back on its feet.

In order to achieve this, we want the government to do the utmost to procure the vaccine and implement it effectively. Pay if they must to secure the vaccine. Incur what they have to ensure a quick distribution and implementation of the vaccine. Expedite the procedure of approval without compromising our health as much as they can as seen in other developed countries. Make the SOP stricter if they need to curb the disease further.

This is our utmost priority for the next six months. No other priorities should come close to this. Not politics. Not the Emergency. Not democratic idealism.

We want the government to undertake this with full resolution, and for this we will fully support the government’s action. Irrespective of our political affiliation, we want this to happen and will ensure it happens. Because the alternative is worse. The additional billions that the government spends to achieve this is nothing to the loss of tens or hundreds of billions if they fail to do so.

We must be clear on what we want. If we are not clear, the government will not be clear. If we think that the political issue is more important, the more the government will indulge in politics.

So my countrymen, let’s stop bickering. Let’s unite and demand together that we want our country to be back on its feet in six months. Don’t waste time in trivialities and then expect all to be well. It’s still in our hands to make a difference.

-Lukman Sheriff Alias-

#BukaEkonomiNegara

#VaccinePlanNow

Editorial note: The views expressed are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysia Gazette.

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