Facts matter, even more so in Covid-19 war

We should take heed of experts’ advice and make decisions based on facts, not emotions, to safeguard our future


TODAY will be the first day of the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO). In the past 28 days, we have seen for the first time in five decades since independence that our nation is put under a partial lockdown, save for some essential services, to protect its people.

We are still a nation at war with an invisible enemy and it remains uncertain how long it will continue, but Malaysia owes it to the efficiency of the Health Ministry and its DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah for making firm decisions from time to time based on facts and evidence at any given time.

The Pakatan Harapan government was criticised for taking the Covid-19 threat lightly in the past. Some complained that Malaysia did not impose a lockdown or travel ban soon enough despite ex-Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s argument that there was no factual evidence to support that call, given that the virus was contained at that time.

The reality is, as a trading and developing nation, Malaysia could not afford to impose a lockdown and border restrictions too early as there were many social and economic repercussions to consider, without neglecting public health issues.

Thankfully, when the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country, the ministry’s response was sufficient to address the situation.

A lockdown is vital, as painful as it may be for us. Dr Noor Hisham, in one of his daily press conferences last month, stressed that Malaysians have the chance to prove research houses JPMorgan Chase & Co and Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) wrong regarding their prediction of Malaysia’s Covid- 19 infection rate.

JPMorgan predicted that by mid- April, there will be up to 6,300 positive cases. MIER’s prediction is much higher, around 8,900 cases nationwide. Dr Noor Hisham emphasised that by adhering to the MCO and staying home, we could prove these research houses wrong.

And as of yesterday, Malaysia recorded 4,817 cases, lower than anticipated, to which the DG admitted that we are doing better than expected.

Had we ignored these predictions and jumped into emotion-based decisions, our situation may be similar or worse than anticipated predictions. The healthcare may be overburdened and the fatality rate could be higher. To God we pray and in science we trust, someone said, pointing out that without the DG’s tenacity and firm decision, Malaysia may suffer greatly.

The war is not over still. One more area in Kuala Lumpur has been put under Enhanced MCO. But if there is anything that we, the citizens, could be proud of is the fact that we are the ones that make the situation work amid all the uncertainties. While others have been travelling back and forth, violating the law for whatever reasons, we are doing our bid as responsible citizens by staying home.

Soon, we will have to worry about restarting our economy, but as proven, we should take heed of experts’ recommendation and make decisions based on facts, not emotions, nor popularity gains, to safeguard our future.

  • Azreen Hani is the online news editor at The Malaysian Reserve.