Categories: News

Covid containment measures could be more successful if govt more clear on the SOPs

Compliance with social distancing measures depends on how long people expect them to last


THE government should practice clarity and consistency in standard operating procedures (SOPs) in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Centre for Market Education fellow and Bait Al-Amanah economist Benedict Weerasena said the government has to also practice strong enforcement against any double standards.

Most of all, he added, it should understand people’s expectations of SOPs.

Citing an example from the past, Malaysians still succumb to panic buying whenever the government announces new restriction measures and SOPs to contain the spread of the virus.

He noted that this is an example of an unintended consequence when an SOP is planned without considering human behaviour.

“I think it is all about people’s expectations. For instance, compliance with social distancing measures really depends on how long people expect them to last.

“If I as an individual expect that the social distancing measures are going to last for like six months, it is going to leave me in fatigue or make me lethargic because we cannot be trapped in the house for that long.

“So, it is high time for the government and policymakers to consider human behaviour in designing these SOPs moving forward,” he said in a webinar session titled “Webinar Negara: Essence of a New National Paradigm” last Friday.

Commenting further, Weerasena said the country needs evidence-based policies by incorporating data analysis and mathematical modelling to guide the nations in handling this pandemic.

He also said targeted measures based on the basic reproduction number should be in place, instead of just blanket policy measures which are questionable in nature.

Apart from that, he added that Malaysia needs a voice for good governance and a better public administration to implement the solutions to prevent confusion when there are so many spokespersons.

“We need a single spokesperson to direct the way the country is moving forward. Not only that, we need to address the crisis of capability and the legitimacy of our politicians,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Weerasena said leaders need to walk the talk by fostering a high degree of trust among Malaysians through clarity in communication.

He emphasised that the leaders should constantly address fundamental issues such as social inequalities, economic inequalities, health inequalities, especially among the marginalised.

“We must build on the distributed network of resilience that we have, whereby our civil society organisations and NGOs have risen to the occasion.

“With all these, I believe we are on the right track with all on board to living with the pandemic moving forward,” he added.

The main objective of Webinar Negara was to bridge the gap between technocrats and relevant decision-makers in regards to policies related to pandemic management.

Former CIMB Group Holdings Bhd’s chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazir Abdul Razak delivered his opening address during the webinar session, where he expressed that it is difficult to implement reform in Malaysia because the country is ruled by a “three-headed monster” of corruption, communal identity and the concentration of power wielded by Umno.

He noted that over time, these negative side effects grew and arguably overwhelmed the positive benefits of the country’s system.

“It is a monster because it is hard to slay. It fights off attempts at reform.

“There have been many attempts notably in the early years with a few leaders’ administrations to implement reform but all of them have failed to do so,” he said.

Dayang Norazhar

Recent Posts

China’s electric bus revolution glides on

SHENZHEN – On a rainy afternoon in Shenzhen, damp passengers jostle their way onto the…

7 mins ago

Total VDP 2.0 tax ​​collection at RM128.85m as at October 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – The amount of tax from the special Voluntary Declaration Programme (VDP) 2.0…

15 mins ago

Indonesia volcano death toll rises to 13: official

AGAM – The total number of hikers found dead after a volcano eruption in Indonesia…

23 mins ago

Uncle Kittu’s love transcends religious, racial barriers

IPOH – Religious and racial differences are not a barrier for K. Kittu, a school…

30 mins ago

Salary adjustment for technical profession to be given priority in SSPA study – PM Anwar

PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) today gave assurance that the salary…

36 mins ago

Motac reviews travel agencies offering Umrah packages

The ministry will also discuss quota with Saudi Arabia  by FAREZZA HANUM RASHID THE Tourism,…

1 hour ago