COVID-19 – GLOBALLY DEALING WITH THE POLITICS, THE FAKE NEWS AND THE SPINS A BIGGER CHALLENGE THAN THE PANDEMIC SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD EXPERT CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

COVID-19 – GLOBALLY DEALING WITH THE POLITICS, THE FAKE NEWS AND THE SPINS A BIGGER CHALLENGE THAN THE PANDEMIC SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD EXPERT CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

I just got off the telephone with a very dear friend in Italy!

This is what he stated!

‘Hi Jacob,
So good to hear your voice my friend!
The situation here is bizarre.
We are good and safe.
But everything is shut.
It is a surrealistic situation.
Towns turned into ghost towns.
And we are allowed to go out just for the grocery.
I am in isolation for 17 day because they found a colleague positive to corona virus.
She is in hospital now.
She is breathing hardly!’

For those of us who have been on the ground and in contact with the pulse of the pandemic will know that the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.

But I still maintain I do not trust the Chinese government, their propaganda machinery and statistics!

Irrespective what some extreme right wing race supremacist groups politicize, it is a fact that there are now more than 150,000 cases in 114 countries, and 5000 people have lost their lives.

It does not end there as thousands more who have been detected are fighting for their lives in hospitals, there are those who are not detected or in other groupings as well!

The messages I receive from friends and loved ones in Italy are so hurting and sad!

The fact that friends and colleagues in international relief organizations and in the WHO are saying to me is super simple:

We cannot but must expect that in the coming days and weeks ahead we will see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.

It is alarm bells everywhere!

As one colleague stated that she is shocked at the alarming levels of the Covid-19 spread and its severity!

She was also flabbergasted at the alarming levels of inaction, incompetence and idiocy of certain stakeholders globally!

Was I surprised that the WHO finally assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic?

Certainly not!

From day one of my write-ups on the matter I have been holding the WHO as villains for coming off the blocks late!

As an Attorney of Law, I am aware that the word – Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly!

I am aware if abused it will cause unreasonable fear, chaos or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

There must be a balance!

But the facts are distressing that with over 150,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those – China and the Republic of Korea – have significantly declining epidemics, if the Chinese government are to be believed?

We are told that over 81 countries have not reported any cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less.

Where does that put us on a scale of one to ten?

It is time to work as a team – globally with countries involved to detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.

Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this virus.

There have been positive results with proactive countries!

But at the same time we see bullshit stories too coming out from the official media, with politicians thinking other stakeholders are silly, uninformed or plain stupid!

We all accept the fact that many countries without a sophisticated healthcare system will struggle!

The issues of resources may be a glaring issue.

Many may not have a political will instead play-acting to the masses!

Some idiots think the answer is mass prayer on a football field with over 10,000 worshipers?

Others think and state this is a Chinese problem and they are super insulated?

Of course ignorance is bliss more so spiritual arrogance in some countries!

But I am also proud of the actions taken in the US, in Britain, Ireland, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, India and New Zealand to slow the virus and control their epidemics.

The US have now barred foreigners from 26 European countries!

President Trump’s new restrictions funnel Americans to designated airports in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Virginia, Detroit, Dallas, Newark, Boston and Miami.

The travelers were undergoing enhanced health screenings, and the crush of Americans returning from Europe appeared to be making those screenings that much harder.

Frustrated travelers shared images of the long lines on social media.

But there are countries where politics play a great mode.

It is idiocy but what more can one say!

They say there are enough hospitals and resources.

They say they have a great pool of experts but then in the same breathe say they are throwing in ill-equipped and zero trained front-liners, in the form of housemen?

The Politician Minister smiles in the media saying – “no worries we have the infra-structure, the hospitals, the experts, and yes – we have the beds!”

WHO are alleged to have stated that exposure may hit over 10% of a population and if that is true, can anyone explain to me, where we will find the Intensive Care Units (ICU) and super trained ICU personnel and Para medical support staff in the country where such a statement was made?

I am aware and advised even with the addition of both private hospitals and public ones one may have only over 1200 ICU beds?

So who is playing whom?

There are containment and lock down efforts put into play globally because there is a clear and imminent danger!

Borders are being in lock down mode, Spain being the latest, international and national flights cancelled, mass gathering outlawed, sports events and educational institutions closed and stock markets and economies are crashing because of economic loss!

The economic storms come in all sides with little or no monies available.

Keeping the bullshit fake narratives of preparedness aside or doing daily media lip service on statistics in and out is not what any nation need now!

We should depart from that and instead – illustrate one’s preparedness.

It is time for – dos and dont!

Are nations in a position to detect, protect and treat?

Are we in a position to reduce transmission and for that, first we need to lock down and we cannot have a ‘business as usual’ climate!

So are we in a lock down mode?

Many countries certainly not and still there are politicians excited to be in huge gatherings to boost their personal spiraling down political image!

Schools are not in locked down either.

Finally what are we innovating?

Are we learning anything from this pandemic?

The call now is to take those very brave steps in truthfulness and accountability!

Can that be expected?

You do not protect a nation with lies, half-truths and deception, any nation for that matter!

We cannot play down the threat either, for we will look like bigger idiots than previously thought.

All countries are called to strike a holistic balance share data and information, set up joint task force.

It is our duty and we are called to serve and protect the healthcare of a community, to minimize any disruption in society while respecting universal human rights!

For now, let us start with a national lock down – so that the efforts of detection, testing, treating, isolating, tracing, researching and mobilizing can be driven and monitored without fail.

It is time for the professionals, the experts, and the competent to lead not politicians, or worst, political pretenders in all parts of the world!

MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR A NATIONWIDE HALT TO ROADSIDE DINING IN MALAYSIA!

MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR A NATIONWIDE HALT TO ROADSIDE DINING IN MALAYSIA!
On May 25, 2003, a 19-year-old salesgirl died when a car driven by 21-year-old college student crashed into her and several friends while they were having supper by the roadside in front of a 24-hour restaurant in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia!

The said restaurant had flouted the law by placing the tables and chairs on the road.
In August 2003, two policemen were killed in Johor Baru, when a car hit them while they were waiting for their supper on the five-foot-way in front of a restaurant.
I remember after the tragedy in Petaling Jaya, I met the then Transport Ministry, parliamentary secretary Donald Lim who in my presence quite rightly stated that all food outlets and restaurants, including ‘Mamak stalls’ will have to stop placing tables, chairs or stools outside their premises with immediate effect.
The decision, according to Lim, must take effect immediately before another tragic accident such as the one which killed 19-year-old took place.
He also was very sarcastic when he quite rightly pointed out that:
“A road is for cars and not for people to sit down and have their meals!’
I remember that post that tragedy notices to all restaurant operators to stop putting tables or chairs outside their premises went out!
Fast forward 2020, nothing has changed!
The tragedies did continue as
Malaysians often frequent the 24-hour informal eateries and roadside food stalls to satisfy their night cravings for food or snacks.
And due to the over growing number of customers and that greed and prospects of greater profit, many food traders and restaurant operators extend their service by placing extra tables on parking lots and sidewalks.
A comprehensive study of the above practice by the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor (CASSA) in 8 states, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Johor found that it was quite common to see tables and chairs being placed at sidewalks and parking areas.
It is obvious that the greed for profits by operators overrides safety concerns for patrons!
I remember addressing the same concern with former Federal Territory Minister Tengku Adnan bin Tengku Mansor and was overjoyed when he immediately ordered a blitz on such operators, prioritizing consumer safety.
Likewise, did former Melaka Chief Minister and Perak Menteri Besar, in view consumer safety!
I am truly grateful to all of them!
It is no rocket science that roadside dining is both hazardous and fatal and unless the mindsets of Malaysians change no legislation can be effective!
We know that under Section 46 (1) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 and for example the Licensing of Hawkers (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) By-laws 2016, and similar laws in all Malaysian states clearly do not permit this very irresponsible act by operators and unless we launch a nationwide mobilization of action on operators the dangers lurks and consumer lives are at stake!

COVID-19 LAND FALLS IN INDONESIA AND PROACTIVE INDONESIAN PRESIDENT PAK JOKO WIDODO TAKES THE LEAD SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘So take nothing for granted and let us be vigilant and take all such action that is needed to protect our borders and people!
There is absolutely no need to be apologetic to any quarter!’
COVID-19 LAND FALLS IN INDONESIA AND PROACTIVE INDONESIAN PRESIDENT PAK JOKO WIDODO TAKES THE LEAD SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!
To several friends of mine, who were planning a group visit to Indonesia starting Friday have been suddenly walking the phone lines with me!
It is as if my prophetic utterances also last week that the possibility of land fall in Indonesia of the Covid-19 threat was only a matter of time.
Why did I state the otherwise obvious?
Just two reasons!
Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, receives about 2 million visitors a year from China, an important source of tourism revenue.
Unlike Malaysia and several other countries around the world – Indonesia was super slow to cut off direct flights to China after the outbreak there.
Secondly, medical intelligentsia have been very vocal for weeks that Indonesia was likely to have cases of the disease and questioned the country’s reluctance to test more for the virus.
Voluntary screening testing and other activities proactively minimizes the threat and at the same time reassures the common folk that action is indeed been taken!
In this way, I must congratulate Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, for getting off the blocks rather speedily and practicing an open door policy in meeting us for discussions and updates and being ready to improvise if the challenge arises!
Kudos to the fallen government as well of doubling down on initial arrogance and accepting my call to close our airports and entries from all China flights!
But in the current situation, I must congratulate dear friend and well-loved Indonesian President Pak Joko Widodo for going on record, that the country had detected its first two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a mother and daughter who apparently caught the disease from a Japanese visitor.
The mother, 64, and the daughter, 31, were being kept in isolation at a hospital in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.
We must always remember just because initial tests shows no Covid-19 does not mean anything, any longer in view that we are dealing with an outbreak so bizarre and fast changing.
Cases in the United States skyrocketed by 35 percent over the weekend.
States from coast to coast reported new cases, including the first two deaths at the same hospital in Washington State.
So take nothing for granted and let us be vigilant and take all such action that is needed to protect our borders and people!
There is absolutely no need to be apologetic to any quarter!

WILL COVID-19 CREATE THE GLOBAL BLACK SWAN SCENARIO ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

WILL COVID-19 CREATE THE GLOBAL BLACK SWAN SCENARIO ASK MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

In many parts of the world there are advisories, panic, fear and anxiety rising!

The Covid-19 outbreak, whose epicenter was China, has now spread across the globe and some governments are struggling to keep the virus under control.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.

According to statistics there are now 86,906 cases worldwide with 2,981 deaths.

We are advised that the notorious five worst-affected countries are China (79,824 cases), South Korea (3,526 cases), Italy (1,128 cases), Iran (593 cases) and Japan (242 cases).

I have still my doubts on the data coming from China!

And their ‘runaway citizens’ are causing major outbreaks abroad, even as far as Iran, which is why I have remained aggressive that all flights out of China and the affected regions be blocked until such time this threat subsides!

However, it was great watching US President Trump take proactive steps in his aggressive address on the coronavirus with his administration’s response, urging public calm and issuing new foreign travel warnings and restrictions.

I was especially touched on the President’s offer to help Iran to mitigate in this outbreak!

So I pray Tehran would do the necessary and work the telephone lines between Tehran and Washington DC!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran.

The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.

The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.

I am advised that Covid-19 could cost the global economy more than $1tn in lost output if it turns into a pandemic!

Before this, we were all addressing or struggling with the impact of trade wars, Brexit and various geopolitical issues!

Recent years saw the global economy going through a hard time and the possibilities of recession and economic slowdown were on the global agenda.

One of the concerns was the fear of a “Black Swan” scenario coming true, further deteriorating the global economy, which has already been on fragile ground for some time.

Now with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China the possibility of such a scenario hitting the global economy becomes all the more real!

It would be idiotism and foolishness for any country to pretend this threat does not exist and carry on with their stupidity of indulging in race and religious baiting while the more vigilant countries globally prepare mobilizing their nation as a unified force to address whatever threats are coming from this very dangerous health threat!

UNITY GOVERNMENT – SUPPORT TUN DR MAHATHIR’S ASPIRATION SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LED CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE.

UNITY GOVERNMENT – SUPPORT TUN DR MAHATHIR’S ASPIRATION SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LED CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE.

Malaysia is at a crossroads!

If one thought that GE14 had addressed all the fall outs and political shortcomings and deficiencies that had plagued the nation over 60 years – one was wrong!

We must decide between moving forward or becoming a failed state!
We saw what power crazy politicians, even those whose character references have taken a beating can unleash last week!

We also saw what happens when we put inexperienced politicians to head ministries as well, post GE14!

Last week was a shocker!

There was no respect for democratic practices, parliamentary democracy nor dignity and decorum only the obsession of wanting power!

Since GE14 there was also not a day that goes by without some form of race and religious bashing of minorities, even accepted norms of the Federal Constitutional provisions!

Malaysia saw plenty agent provocateurs at work!

There was no doubt that our unity in diversity a shining beacon for the global stage from time immemorial was threatened to its core!

There was an escalation of both race and religious extremism!

Inexplicably even ‘men of the cloth’ had shamefully involved themselves in the narrative.

But equally dangerous was the obsession as certain individuals, directly, indirectly and through proxies activating a jostling for power post the Mahathir era and prematurely during the tenure as well.

And in the midst of this were the double track of ongoing trials of individuals from the former administration as well as putting into place curbs and addressing corruption and political patronage in its many forms and versions that had crippled the country!

Massive damage was done to our nation last week!

Thank GOD we have a great and much beloved King who took control of the situation!

To go forward what is needed is an extraordinary process, a radical departure from the old ways!

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has proposed a unity government!

Basically, to use the best political talent and academic brains we have to work as one for the common goal of building a new Malaysia.

It is time Malaysian ministries were hemmed by dedicated, talented and committed individual picked from a wide cross-section of MPs with one objective to help restore what was lost.

It is time to put away personal and party political aspirations and obsessions and support Tun Dr Mahathir’s initiative and vision for Malaysia!