By Michael Tay, Johor MCA Government and Coordinating Affairs chairman.
I would like to thank China for sending a team of medical experts to Malaysia to help us fight the coronavirus pandemic.
I see a ray of hope as this team can shed light on how their patients were treated and hopefully, this will boost the recovery rate of our patients. This team could also share with us their experience and knowledge
This is crucial now, as all credible information should be given to the scientific community so that there can be a coronavirus model.
With Malaysia’s population standing at 32.6 million, the number of Covid-19 cases is not alarming as we observe social distancing and we are not densely populated.
I also have nothing but praises for Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, our Director-General of Health, who has been giving regular clear concise updates on the Covid-19. This neutralises fear and deters baseless speculations, as the public is kept well informed.
Many people want to go back to their normal lives but I know social gathering is definitely out of the question even after the MCO is lifted and until the scientific community comes up with a model.
For those who are struggling with mental stress can turn to Befrienders Johor Baru, for instance. The hotline number is 07 3312300.
I’ve been told that Befrienders’ hotline has been receiving an average of 40 calls per day since the Movement Control Order (MCO) started, double that of what the non-governmental organisation had been receiving before.
Sim Ah Moi, who is Befrienders Johor Baru’s acting president, said during the first phase of the MCO, the number of calls received was between 16 and 46, and during the second phase, 16 to 44.
Financial woes was the main concerns of those who had called the hotline.
Sim said employees were worried about getting their income, while employers were worried about generating the income and sustaining their businesses.
But Befrienders JB had challenges of their own too. The NGO which has 66 members is currently running the hotline 7 days a week with only 33 volunteers aged between 29 and 67, as some have opted to observe the MCO.
Volunteers are divided into four shifts with two volunteers per shift, so the organisation actually needed a total of eight volunteers daily. With the number of volunteers down by half, some of the volunteers had to work double shifts.
I applaud them for their tireless efforts and commitment to ease frayed nerves in such trying times.
Although Befrienders JB is not made up of professional counsellors and they can’t give any advice, at least you know there’s someone at the other end of the line who’s listening to you.
Sometimes it’s not easy to talk to family members, as you may not want them to worry. So, we have organisations like Befrienders JB to turn to.
For those facing financial worries can also call Johor Welfare Department or the Employees Provident Fund (KWSP) office for assistance.
I would also like to remind those with fever to go for Covid-19 testing immediately. Several days ago, someone said his father was feeling feverish. I told him to send his father for a medical check-up, and his father tested positive for Covid-19.
So, to sum things up. The government has provided all these avenues — a resilient structure is in place. Have faith that with sound political management and policies, Malaysia will bounce back after the crisis.There may be changes to the norm, such as having to embrace technology such as teleconferencing via Skype or Zoom — at least until the vaccine is unveiled — but we will emerge after the crisis just like before, and maybe even better!