Dr M: Lockdown hurts economy, but saving lives matter

Employees at work sites do not fully comply with the SOPs although the Covid-19 cases have reached above 7,000 for 3 consecutive days


FORMER Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said having a lockdown will hurt the economy, but it is better than losing lives.

Expressing his concern on the lack of compliance on standard operating procedures (SOPs) especially at the workplace, with no overseers to monitor it, Dr Mahathir said economic downturn is better than death.

“The economy will decline because of the lockdown but it is better to have an economic downturn than death,” Dr Mahathir said in his blog post yesterday.

“I do not wish to comment on how effective the emergency is in managing Covid-19,” he added.

From his observation, Dr Mahathir said employees at work sites do not fully comply with the SOPs although the Covid-19 cases have reached above 7,000 for three consecutive days.

“Two days ago, while I was on my way back from my office — Perdana Leadership Foundation — I saw construction workers on the side of the road waiting for the workers’ bus.

“They squat in a row. About 20 people were lining up. What is clear is that they do not practice social distancing.

“Some wear masks under the chin and maybe even one or two do not wear masks directly,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said he does not believe that those workers have received the Covid-19 vaccine, but what is clear is that they do not follow the SOP.

“I believe that in other workplaces, the way employees ignore SOPs is similar. There is no indication that they would remind each other to follow the SOP,” said the Langkawi MP.

Dr Mahathir believes that the number of Covid cases would continuously increase as Malaysia reported a record 7,857 cases yesterday.

The workplace clusters continue to contribute to the rise of daily new infection, although the Health Ministry had said that most cases are now sporadic.

Dr Mahathir said while the implementation of SOPs is good, the way it has been practiced by employees and the public has not reached a desired level, leaving room for the virus to be transmitted.

As an example, he said Muslims do stay away from each other during prayers to observe the SOP.

“But after the congregational prayer, they do not stay away from each other. While leaving the mosque, as usual, they approached each other.”

While working, employees do not follow the distance between them. The same goes for shopping, said Dr Mahathir.

He stressed that the authorities should ensure well-practiced physical distances are observed.

“Considering that the virus can be blown by the wind, it is preferable to have a separation distance of two meters (among individuals),” he added.