TODAY REMEMBERING A VERY DEAR FRIEND HARPAJAN SINGH (1962-1999) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

‘Though harp is not around but his spiritual presence is with the team and as we see how CASSA, now CASSA MALAYSIA has made an impact in the country and globally, we know it is his continued guidance and blessings on us from heaven.’

HARPAJAN SINGH, DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR OF STAR PUB.

TODAY REMEMBERING A VERY DEAR FRIEND HARPAJAN SINGH (1962-1999) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

I was sitting in my office at a premier private hospital in Subang Jaya as its senior administrator, in 1999, when I received a call from the Star’s editorial team asking me to say a few words for their obituary on Harp as he was affectionately known to us.

That statement hit me like a bolt of lightning and I broke down immediately unable to contain the emotions.

I remember my staff rushing in to check on me hearing my cry and wondering what happened.

I was told Harpajan Singh then 37, passed away at 1.10am after a heart attack.

I thought there was some mistake as he was then on 37 and looked great as I visited him and we chatted as he was admitted at the same hospital for review and I never thought that this would happen.

Harpajan, better know as “Harp”, was The Star deputy news editor (Asean).

He is best remembered as “the Asean expert” among local journalists.

The news that he was no more was shocking as he was with the team at Lake View Club where we met to address consumer issues, over a meal and he had to leave.

His last words to me and the team gathered was:

“Chief, got to go! Promised to take my son to supper!”

Harp and I went a long way.

Both of us were from Penang.

We were brothers at arms. We addressed many community issues together, even when we were in the north.

We met whenever possible to address and update each other on the politics and issues.

Among the issues, the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim and his assault – the “infamous black eyed incident and others!”

We had access to former deputy then Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, current Premier Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin and other cabinet ministers and head of states!

Among them, the then Menteri Besar of Pahang Haji Adnan bin Haji Yaakob.

Harp, was instrumental in encouraging us to go into politics by setting up a MIC branch in Subang Jaya as not to upset Samy Velu then the MIC President and a relative by joining Gerakan in view our Penang connections.

After successfully setting up the branch and addressing community issues which got media attention and a great deal of praise for being different.

However it attracted enemies from within jealous of our success and after a prominent MIC leader was shot dead, we decided politics was not for us and CASSA was born!

Last night after 22 years Harp was in my dream and thought.

I said a prayer for him and wondered how his family is.

It would be great to catch up after over 22 years.

Though harp is not around but his spiritual presence is with the team and as we see how CASSA, now CASSA MALAYSIA has made an impact in the country and globally, we know it is his continued guidance and blessings on us from heaven.

Harps, we all miss our tea and eating sessions while addressing issues.

Miss you da – wish you are physical here as I can update you on current challenges, not that you are not aware from heaven, please continue to bless and uphold us as we continue this challenge of addressing community woes and grievances without fear or favor!

 

YOU ADVISED MCO AND AN EMERGENCY TO BRING DOWN NUMBERS, SERIOUSLY ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.

YOU ADVISED MCO AND AN EMERGENCY TO BRING DOWN NUMBERS, SERIOUSLY ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.
I have absolutely no interest in fighting a verbal battle with those in the MOH corridors of absolute power and politicians all protecting their own agenda and now allegedly using Covid 19 as an umbrella to cover ingeniously their incompetence, double standards and obsessions!
Today I will as a public interest messenger ask several pertinent questions.
If you desire to answer please do as one who has sacrificed a great deal in my life addressing public interest issues for over 45 years I am really troubled!
Let us start with the alleged MOH advisory to justify the MCO and Emergency to curb the spread?
As I am made to understand the litmus test for the effectiveness of MCO is in the reduction of cases after a 2 week period.
If that is a fact then MCO 2.0 was first implemented for a 2 week period from 13 – 26 January 2021 (then extended).
But as we look at the cases today, and every day since there are no signs of reduction.
So was there merit in the called lockdown if really, there is a lockdown?
Currently, Selangor is the epicenter of the largest infection numbers.
So we will look at Selangor and ask questions if those behind the MCO and other calls had addressed real issues or are playing a clandestine policy initiative that challenges anyone’s intelligence?
Or the need to have a press conference daily sharing infection, fatality and discharged statistics without raw data like a broken record?
Whose felt needs met by this?
So yes, there is a MCO and an Emergency so let us look at what is happening on the road in pictures!
Let us compare lockdowns in the UK, the USA, in Germany, Spain, Holland, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand!
And then look at Malaysia and for this exercise we will look at Selangor the current highest statistics on infections in the country.
Let me now end this piece in an appeal to the self-appointed masters of both health and public policy initiatives to seriously look at my appeal for a task force of eminent health professionals, epidemiologists, both private and public sector experts and administrators which includes past DGs to now take control of this war against the pandemic before we lose more lives and the numbers cross the 200,000 mark and beyond!
Let us cut the BS in view of the clear and present danger and the now total collapse of the overworked system!
One final word!
Perhaps, it is time for the sitting recalcitrant {s) to also address the advisory by former, no nonsense tolerating, Director General of Health Services, Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican on his 5 ways to beat the Covid 19 threat!
Ismail recommended five steps to “turn the tide” in the fight against the pandemic:
• A strong, stable and credible leadership with good governance and genuine appreciation of the problems the people face, especially as a result of the economic and psychological repercussions of lockdowns, which should not be the only strategy used.
He said the health ministry, from the minister down to the director-general and his technical team, must be given the authority to present the “hard facts” and advise on measures that need to be taken.
• A robust and well-resourced medical and public health system with input and advice from the best available experts, not just from MOH.
• The government must empower, educate and engage communities, so they are committed, responsible and knowledgeable and not get carried away with disseminating misinformation, half-truths and fear, especially about the vaccines.
• Vaccine procurement must be accountable and transparent, with MOH taking the lead, instead of the science, technology and innovation ministry.
• One “trusted” government source to provide consistent and accurate communication to instill public confidence and compliance.
I rest my case – period!

COVID 19 & LOCKDOWNS – MORE PROFESSIONALISM NEEDED HANDLING DATA AND INFORMATION MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SAYS.

‘The moment each and every one wants to behave as an expert, an epidemiologist, and a pandemic and vaccine expert or for the matter public policy issues without consultation – chaos and confusion will reign!’

COVID 19 & LOCKDOWNS – MORE PROFESSIONALISM NEEDED HANDLING DATA AND INFORMATION MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE SAYS.

This week a letter by EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham Malaysia) chief executive officer Sven Schneider to his members had revealed that Putrajaya is set to announce a total economic shutdown after Feb 4, should the number of Covid-19 cases in the country keep rising.

The authenticity of the said letter was checked and confirmed but with a twist that it was intended for the internal consumption of its members only.

In all fairness, the letter contained a summary of Schneider’s Jan 22 “important and urgent” meeting with International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) secretary-general Lokman Hakim Ali and other officials, during which it was mentioned that the Health Ministry “made a clear stand on the matter of a complete shutdown of the economy”.

“Should the infection rate not decrease, the government will announce a shutdown/strict lockdown immediately after Feb 4.

I am made to understand from high level sources from the government that it was more an appeal, an advisory from the government to both domestic and international  industry players to join the effort of reducing infections, breaking the chain, to keep the economy open for business!

However on the ground the mismanaged revelation that went viral and caused massive upheavals on positioning again fear and anxiety on consumers.

And when in such a situation the usual pattern seen over the years is a beeline to shopping outlets and “kiasuism” takes over!

Consumers surrender their intelligence and behave as if they have lost their faculties of thinking and judgment.

To make matters worse huge crowds gathered and everything from toilet papers, bread, mineral waters, and canned stuff were purchased across the board.

The rumor peddlers joined in and made matters worse on the social media.

It was panic buying all over again.

It did not help as it gave an opportunity for third parties and cartels to get into their various clandestine acts of profiteering.

I do not want to point a finger at anyone but to appeal for clarity, consistency and for integrity to prevail!

I have appealed to all my government friends to treat us as partners in all the deliberations addressing the pandemic, which includes adequate and reliable data and information on any decision to be taken on a national lockdown!

I am sad to see political and civil servant vigilante-ism.

I have always advised our friends in high office in the government to please treat us with dignity and decorum as we represent consumers!

It is always important that there is only one spokesman for the government on this matter and policy initiatives.

And that is senior minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the current Minister of Defense!

The moment each and every one wants to behave as an expert, an epidemiologist, and a pandemic and vaccine expert or for the matter public policy issues without consultation – chaos and confusion will reign!

We have had that for far too long if, everyone from ministers, civil servants, Industry and NGO representatives come out with their bits and pieces after watching both BBC and CNN with the net result – confusion and chaos with the Malaysian consumers confused!

Have you forgotten the circus and corporate communication fiasco and chaos post MH370 in 2014?

Have we not learnt lessons from that tragedy?

Do you still want to behave like a prima donna – a ‘syiok sendiri media psychopath?’

ARE INSURANCE CARTELS PLAYING A NEW CAT AND MOUSE GAME WITH CONSUMERS ASKS MALAYSIAN ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE?

‘I take the floor to congratulate both the Singapore government, their Ministry of Health, stakeholders not just for the successful roll out platform and plan of action as per the vaccination process but applauding Singapore’s seven major insurance companies for their extended medical coverage to include the cost of hospital stays to treat complications arising from Covid-19 vaccinations.’

ARE INSURANCE CARTELS PLAYING A NEW CAT AND MOUSE GAME WITH CONSUMERS ASKS MALAYSIAN ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE?

I have raised the issue of the yet to address road map of the expected roll out of the vaccine and an eerie elegant silence continues to date!

Of course, which ever, whenever the vaccines of whichever brand arrives on our shores, based on political expediency and other ‘considerations?’.

I raised it as an insider, well updated and to me after over 40 years of public policy initiatives involvement to prevent the already deeply rooted suspicion and incompetence already shown by a large quarter of individuals we had thought were individuals of integrity!

That they will not sell us mortals out when enticed by power, titles, positions, VVIP access and large poles of adverts with their towering pictures on our highways.

A year after – the betrayal and deceit has been monumental and it raises many questions of integrity or the lack of in all tiers of authority.

This really saddens me and many of my colleagues as we sacrificed so much thinking that good will always triumph over evil.

So while we have yet to address the issues surrounding Covid 19 we are already told that Malaysian insurers have yet to decide whether to extend medical coverage to treatment of complications arising from Covid-19 vaccinations.

This is no jest as we are told of a reported statement where the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) notes that most medical and health insurance policies do not cover pandemics like Covid-19.

That may be true, but change can be introduced as to public interest and not just at looking at obese profiteering!

And as such, I had suspected whether the industry will extend coverage to complications arising from Covid-19 vaccinations?

Of course there are enough weakness and loophole currently, as price sensitive information, results of trials, data and information are still inaccessible.

I predict that this will be the excuse used by insurance companies to deny claims of those the cost of hospital stays to treat complications arising from Covid-19 vaccinations.

Among the common side effects of Covid-19 vaccines we are advised are pain, redness and swelling at the injection site and fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pains, tiredness and swollen lymph nodes.

It is unbecoming to not answer directly to consumer interest and deviating from the elephant in the room by stating foolishly that such decisions could be made only by individual companies and would be based on consumer demand, business strategies, and risk exposure profiles and underwriting considerations, all of which would be unique to each company.

To me this is cowardice and inexplicably such unbecoming behavior has not changed.

I take the floor to congratulate both the Singapore government, their Ministry of Health, stakeholders not just for the successful roll out platform and plan of action as per the vaccination process but applauding Singapore’s seven major insurance companies for their extended medical coverage to include the cost of hospital stays to treat complications arising from Covid-19 vaccinations.

For those in slumber land, Singapore started its vaccination programme on Dec 30.

 

WHEN POLITICIANS & THE LEADERSHIP DON’T WALK THE TALK ITS FRIGHTENING, HEARTBREAKING AND EMBARRASSING SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.

 

‘It is difficult for those whose finances are secured like VVIPs, Ministers, politicians and the civil servants to understand that there are communities going to bed hungry and others traumatized how they are going to manage another day, pay rent, loans, and workers or stay afloat?”

WHEN POLITICIANS & THE LEADERSHIP DON’T WALK THE TALK ITS FRIGHTENING, HEARTBREAKING AND EMBARRASSING SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE.

It is a fact that Covid-19 spread is already in the community!

My dear friend and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has already stated that the entire country, except for Sarawak, will come under a second full movement control order (MCO 2.0) from Jan 22.

In an earlier statement, he also stated the current protocols initiated demands everyone to follow diligently and no exceptions given to any quarter!

Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has also rightly reminded Malaysians from all walks of life to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He is reported to have stated:

“I would like to remind myself and the people regardless of pangkat (position), ethnicity and other (categories) to follow SOPs.

“You are advised to stay at home if you do not have important matters (outdoors) because Covid-19 is already in the community and it is spreading.

“But if you have important matters (outdoors) please ensure we adhere to SOPs – wear a mask at all times, wash your hands and maintain a physical distance of at least one metre,” he said at the end of his Covid-19 briefing recently.

Brilliant advice it is, but are the VVIPs, politicians the corridors of power following them?

Have some sensitivity for our first responders and front-liners!

The reality is while the common man and women followed except a certain recalcitrant community, the worst offenders have been those who have been preaching to us as VVIPs, leaders, politicians and members of the sitting government!

Many are currently falling ill like dominoes with Covid-19!

Perhaps, it is divine repudiation?

It is no secret with the evidence of photographs making its rounds and the news of the current political persona joining the Covid 19 statistics.

So please share with us the common folks which part of the Covid 19 protocol of:

  1. Wear a mask at all times,
  2. Wash your hands and
  3. Maintain a physical distance of at least one metre, you did not understand?

Is this a just a ‘political technical glitch’ or political high-handedness and arrogance showed from day one of the infection spread in 2020?

And will these politicians be expecting special treatment and privileges by an already exhausted and stretched community of first responders and front-liners at our public hospitals?

Will they bring in their “political office and runners” into the hospital eco-system as well, putting the entire hospital community at risk?

This is a very serious question put forward!

The facts speak for themselves.

We say the country is under MCO but just look at Selangor, the current title holder for the highest Covid-19 infections, as I had predicted in September last year after monitoring community behavior and responses in the state to protocols.

It is business as usual.

The traffic jams are back all over!

There is a total disregard of protocols.

Even foreigners and foreign-workers, I am speaking of both legal and illegals walking around as if their bodies contain the necessary antibodies to prevent infection?

And then we are also churning out standard operating procedures that makes no economic, social and business sense and the sudden zig zags or claims that one is consulting the “Ministry of Health” is becoming comical.

I have been addressing healthcare issues from 1982 and from my experience and track record, while MOH in all fairness are expected to have answers to healthcare administration they are not super experts on all matters!

They have their own set of shortcomings and issues and we will not go into that here!

So if policies are going to be made which will impact social, business and others eco-systems let us be professional enough to rope in a taskforce of respected stakeholders who have been addressing such issues and with their input – plan an action platform that will not make victims of an already victimized and bleeding community and  business interest.

It is difficult for those whose finances are secured like VVIPs, Ministers, politicians and the civil servants to understand that there are communities going to bed hungry and others traumatized how they are going to manage another day, pay rent, loans, and workers or stay afloat?

And when the community returns fire with such responses as hashtag #SiBodohKauDengarSini (Listen here, idiot), we claim to be shocked?

And shocked at what, our own stupidity?