Time To Wave A White Flag?

Is it time to wave a white flag (bendera putih)?  Our existing SOP is obviously ineffective and perhaps a change of strategy is needed. This uphill battle must be exhausting!


Wave The White Flag Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash


By Michael Tay, who is the Johor Covid-19 Pandemic Taskforce chairman, and also Johor MCA Government Coordinating Affairs Chairman.


The total number of Covid-19 cases stood at 751,979 nationwide on June 30, with 6,276 new cases and 62 deaths.


Should we be reviewing our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and maybe consider a change of strategy to fight the coronavirus?


The first Movement Control Order (MCO) was introduced to break the chain of Covid-19 on March 18, 2020 and since then, there has been the Conditional Movement Control Order, Recovery Movement Control Order, MCO 2.0, MCO 3.0


And Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly said that the MCO will only be lifted when daily new Covid-19 cases are less than 4,000.


Since the number is not going down and doesn’t look like it’s going down anytime soon — and the Prime Minister is having diarrhoea! — why not delegate the task of reducing the number of Covid-19 cases to the Menteri Besar (MB) or Chief Minister of each state?


We can follow the US model where a country with 50 states, each has its own SOP.


If the MBs are empowered to come up with their own SOPs instead of following a standardised SOP, would this bring down the infection rate?


The MB should know the red zones, the landscape and demography of his state better than anyone else.


It’s going to be a monumental task, so the MB and his own committee comprising personnels from the top hospitals in the state, will still need the assistance of the Federal Government.


But if given more power,  the MB may be able to do a better job. He could draw up another SOP to complement the standardised SOP.  A case in point is, the re-opening of the MPH bookstores at Vivacity Megamall and The Spring in Sarawak on June 29 based on a statement from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, while  outlets in other states remain closed.


I believe if Johor can reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, it would be able to regain the confidence of its neighbours and attract the Singaporeans to shop and invest in the state again.


This is a win-win situation as it will also ease the burden of the Prime Minister, Senior Minister (security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who are the ones calling all the shots right now with one SOP implemented nationwide.


It should not be a centralised system, like what we are practising now.  Delegation is a management skill that will lead to specialisation. This is not a call for Tan Sri Muhyiddin and his team to surrender.  They just need to review and revamp the existing SOP and come up with a more effective SOP.  It is also about time the MBs shoulder more responsibility and show their leadership in reviving the state economy and curbing the infection rate as the vaccination programme is carried out.


I take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister  for announcing the National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (PEMULIH), which is going to alleviate the financial burden faced by those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.


The RM300,000 which will be distributed to all Members of Parliament, regardless of which camp they are in, is a good move but it should be done quickly and properly to ensure the money is channeled to those who are in financial distress.


On another matter, many people are happy with the 6-month bank loan moratorium, but we also mustn’t overstrain the banks by having one moratorium after another.  I know some banks have already closed a number of their branches.  You’re unlikely to see banks waving a bendera putih or white flag as they’re consolidating.  They’ll just collapse.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in Your Say are those of the contributor, not the blog owner.


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