‘For now the operative word is truth and accountability which in many countries have been sacrificed at the altars of political expediency, greed, betrayal, profiteering and self-interest!’
MALAYSIAN ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON THE ORIGINS OF THE PANDEMIC!
As of April 28, 2020, the outbreak of the Wuhan Virus @coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had spread to six continents, and approximately 212,337 people had died after contracting the respiratory virus.
This is a tragedy!
This is political and economic genocide!
And economies have taken a beating globally.
And no one knows for certain if ever we will see a recovery within the next 6 years at best.
China feels the heat turned on her at each and every turn as international calls increase for accountability and truth to be known!
Though China is pushing back against the growing chorus of voices around the world calling for the country to pay compensation for the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic but I go a step further by calling for an international inquiry on the origins of this pandemic in global interest and accountability and most importantly as a long due respect to those victims of this outbreak.
Those who think they are innocent need fear nothing and as such there is no need for threats of economic backlash as threatened against Australia and the United States of America!
For now the operative word is truth and accountability which in many countries have been sacrificed at the altars of political expediency greed, betrayal, profiteering and self-interest!
MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE CALLS FOR A FOOD SECURITY COMMISSION IN MALAYSIA
The current population of Malaysia is over 34 million based on the current United Nations estimates!
I am quite certain, it does not take into cognizance another alleged 6 million or so undocumented and illegals in the country!
With that in mind, how does Malaysia address food security issues to protect farming, production, distribution and fair pricing of this commodity making food available and affordable for everyone here?
The current Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown has confirmed CASSA fear and supports our appeal to the federal government for over 15 years to address the steady falling of the command and control of food security in the hands of both criminal groupings, business cartels and foreigners, mainly those from Bangladesh, Myanmar and the now threatening Rohingya groups!
Over a period of 15 to 20 years we have seen the creeping in of the command and control of this vital food security lifeline being placed in the hands of foreigners thus creating a major internal security issue for the nation.
One just has to visit for example the Selayang and Kuala Lumpur markets and the area surroundings to realize the clear and present danger of foreigners to national security if unattended by the government.
All is not lost.
Farming has been a major part of civilization for millennia and today, despite challenges, loss of farming land, human resources, operational costs and hurdles, dedicated and passionate farmers, continue that legacy.
Malaysia still has a large reservoir and catchment of dedicated farmers who if empowered will bring holistic change.
Farmers have also worked alongside scientists, who have guided them in the development of new crops, created new tools, and pioneered new techniques.
Advances in plant breeding, crop protection, and farming technology have made it possible for farmers to produce way more food on the same amount of land, boosted the nutritional content of food, improved taste, and extended shelf life, all while keeping costs down.
But more need to be done.
We cannot deny that farming is also what most Malaysians consider “dirty, difficult and demanding”.
It is no wonder that young people are not interested in this sector!
And food production in agriculture is one of the most essential sectors but also the most criticized, under-appreciated and threatened in 2019!
This is why CASSA finds the act of destroying active farm land in any part of Malaysia especially Cameron Highlands, despicable, an offense of the highest degree, even treason, and in this case since, our food security situation in Malaysia is extremely fragile and vulnerable!
I was at the UN’s World Food Security Summit in Rome in the 90s and had the opportunity to monitor, present opinions with the IGO (international governmental organisations) and NGO communities as well as the government-to-government sessions face-to-face courtesy of our Malaysian ambassador to Italy during that period!
But my concern today is not at the global optics but to ascertain where Malaysia’s food security is benched at and most importantly, at Cameron Highlands!
For far too long farmers and food production centers in Cameron Highlands, have not be accorded special privileges and protection in order to preserve continued production, technical and technological advances and generational experience.
After more than 60 years of high intensive construction and development, the farming environment has greatly suffered severe reduction of good farming land.
Worse, there was never a strategic long term plan planned and rolled put to seek alternate sites to replace ecologically sensitive areas.
Despite the setting up of government agencies to spearhead a strategic plan to food security, most if not all, have failed despite billions been allegedly, spent over decades.
That leads me to ask whether, we have now a 20 year plan of action, which will be a paradigm shift, not just for farmers but farming land in and around the nation and most importantly, at Cameron Highlands?
Is there strong export and import oriented policies in place so that vicious price fluctuations are addressed to maintain a decent pricing for the crops to protect the rights, interests and needs of our farmers?
Do we have cash crop insurance for farmers?
Or are prices now controlled by cartels, illegals, foreigners and monopolies and the underworld?
When will we have a policy on cluster farming, as it cuts cost of production by at least 40%?
When will we have agricultural inputs channeled as directly as possible to the farmers, so that production cost is mitigated?
As any reduction of operational costs to farmers cutting off the illegals, middle men, seepage, gravy train hunters and cronies, will reduce cost to consumers.
I do not deny that many of these issues have been raised and processes implemented, by the former Ministry of Agriculture then renamed, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, but have they been really effective?
If so, can the results or audits of those processes, the effectiveness and delivery of these initiatives be made public?
What were the bench mark set and have these been achieved?
Who can vouch for these ‘achievements?’
It is embarrassing, that with billions pumped in through related agencies which include, Mardi and a host of agencies, we have yet to produce basic cash crop seeds.
On the other hand, fertilizer manufacturing is fragmented, thus the actual cost to the farmers is market based and not incentive based.
For example, composting all chicken manure and enriching it, will bring down cost tremendously.
But it is done more as small private initiatives and thus, there is no cost benefit to end users.
There must be an independent body working directly with the farmers in Cameron Highlands, which cuts across red tapes, politics and bureaucracy, so that allocations to farmers are delivered.
In recent years, Cameron Highlands has been experiencing rapid development, in terms of infrastructure and real estate has be a threat to their agriculture industry, food production and its security.
It impacts the most popular vegetables planted and processed from Cameron Highlands which are cabbage, tomatoes, peas and Chinese cabbage.
They are usually supplied to many parts around Malaysia, while, some are being exported to Singapore.
Strawberries are a very popular natural produce here are being exported as well.
But a clear and present danger and problem to farmers is the need for more land, for food cultivation and to address and combat the imminent threat from food imports from China!
Farmers are suffering in terms of profit and income due to this.
Meanwhile, about 90% of those who are employed in the farms are Bangladeshis and this requiring overhead like salary, incentives and accommodation, among others.
There are also other challenges where fertile land is being destroyed by state apparatus and agents as well!
With all these factors involved, the agriculture industry is no longer as lucrative and attractive as it was before, what more with the monopoly of a certain player and the rampant land clearing activities which have been happening without control by the state government or those who are in power.
There can be no food security without security for farmers in Malaysia!
This is why I am appealing for a Food Security Commission to be appointed to address the end to end process and to gazette all food producing land as protected under new legislation so that Malaysia’s food security will be protected!
The appointed Food Security Commission should be positioned under the Prime Minister’s Office and oversight to ascertain a fast track response to the clear and present danger that now lurks which unattended will derail food security to Malaysians.
‘To survive this crisis, the world community will need a super heavy dose of international cooperation and leadership.
But at even date, there is no leadership at the global stage to align all efforts going forward!’
HAS THE WUHAN VIRUS ALIAS COVID-19 BROUGHT DOWN RACISM NARRATIVES IN SOME COUNTRIES ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST!
Perhaps, this would be the most controversial article I have EVER written on any subject to date!
But from where I am sitting, I am really glad that the Wuhan virus alias Covid-19 landed!
Months before the pandemic, almost daily we have Facebook narratives, what Sapp messages of a very serious theological discourses going on where certain communities and their religious orders and others as always stupid followers were getting in a rude, vulgar theological discourse on the greatness of their God, their priestly orders, that of their evangelists, down talking other Abrahamic faiths and those older.
And when the infection went wild claiming thousands of lives in Wuhan China – rude and vulgar jokes were made of the Chinese, their culture, way of life, eating habits and worst, that this was a direct and immediate curse and punishment from their God against the Chinese!
The religious arrogance shown just an unleashing of a racist mindset let loose.
Certain politicians, religious and community leaders joined in the chorus of that hate narrative.
The comment columns of certain vernacular online news media were the epicenter of such animosity and fascism!
But all that came collapsing, which includes the myth, that communities were untouchable, insulated to the Wuhan virus alias Covid-19!
Overnight, the body count of fatalities grew and inexplicably, those theologians, their politicians and proxies went super quiet!
Their earlier held mantra of infallibility, dogmas, it’s alright to have unhygienic eating habits, attire and theological beliefs and religious supremacy took a knocking!
Both their religious and political leaders even at this time of writing are incommunicado, below the radar perhaps afraid to admit how shallow, arrogant, racist and vulgar was the manner they treated those who shared not their faith!
They cannot understand neither comprehend the present infection nor its trend and continued journey of claiming lives without prejudice to one’s race, young or old, smart or stupid, one’s religious faith, status in society, be one a prince, prime minister, an Oscar winning Hollywood star or even a religious icon.
Welcome to the new world order!
It is clear whether you are a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, believer, non-believer, and member of the deep state or terrorist – all are a fair game for the infamous Wuhan virus alias Covid-19!
For now the infection has caused chaos in countries rich, powerful and poor!
It has destroyed the world economies and predictions of growth.
It has called for and unleashed stimulus packages whatever that means eventually?
Interestingly the preferred policy response from the play book of every country threatened by COVID-19 seems to be a lockdown, or severely restricting movement (of people, goods and services) into and out of cities or countries.
Locally, debates have been polarized on the government’s transparency and capacity and on the panic buying of consumables, consumers’ priorities, hand sanitizers and other supplies.
We have yet to set up a task force of minds from the community from differing persuasions to think out of the box!
So far we have been less focused on the fundamental question: “How can the spread be stopped before it is too late?
And not surprising more than 100 governments have closed their borders to foreign visitors and/or imposed lengthy quarantines that have the same practical effect.
It is believed for now in view of the imponderables and gaps, this is undoubtedly the best way to slow down, contain and hopefully roll back the spread of the novel coronavirus within and between nations.
I have had my doubts after witnessing the gaps, that trial by error methods and plain incompetence.
I know that beating COVID-19 will require much more from countries than lockdowns, social distancing and travel bans.
The charging and handcuffing of a 60 year old cardiologist as if he was a deep state operative for out jogging in an empty park was an over-kill in one country!
While not arresting more than 5000 and their proxies from an epicenter of the spreading infection under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 raised perception of bias and abuse even in a lockdown and a pandemic!
Let me also tell you that even if China, South Korea and Japan the current leads in a war against the pandemic succeed in scaling back the virus, that does not mean much if the rest of the world catches it.
I never trusted the Chinese figures or their narrative – period!
In my book they can never be trusted!
As for the World Health Organization (WHO) on holiday when I was screaming in my articles to declare this a pandemic, it has now expressed serious concern over the “alarming level of inaction” in many countries.
How ironic and what hypocrisy!
The other features was that many countries were in denial; some responding slowly or inadequately, and many simply lack the resources, the expertise or the political commitment without fear nor favor to religious, racial or community taboos to beat the virus.
From my interactions with my friends who are part of a global team of professionals, I am advised that the peak of this pandemic is still nowhere in sight.
But there are good things too in this chaos, where an idiot who spoke about a plateau and drinking warm water to rid the infection is missing and good riddance!
In his absence, I find another more competent doing the heavy lifting!
I was wrong about him in the past, and did send over a well-wisher and my full support for his task at hand!
So likewise, let us all together as global partners align.
To survive this crisis, the world community will need a super heavy dose of international cooperation and leadership.
But at even date, there is no leadership at the global stage to align all efforts going forward!
We will all agree that despite today’s compelling need for it, we are still not seeing the intense international cooperation needed to solve the crisis at hand.
The irony is the initial epicenter of this pandemic is now busy cashing in on what the world needs after infecting them with a virus, from masks to incubators and other support items!
The question in everyone’s mind is, are we all alone – is every nation for itself as we face a very formidable virus who respects not race, religion, geographical borders, the rich, poor, the bright, the stupid and most importantly, even idiots!
This is despite the emerging threat blossoming into a pandemic within 11 weeks, and with so many unknowns.
We are really terrified.
We are terrified by the collapse of the healthcare systems in several first world countries, even emerging markets, followed by the potential human and economic consequences, and naturally affected countries tend to be directing most of their energy inward.
Sadly, despite a clear and present danger to all international cooperation has also been hampered by strategic rivalry, particularly between the United States and China, meaning suspicion and zero-sum thinking continue to guide policy perspectives and initiatives.
In such conditions, I expect nothing but that strategic rivals would be persuaded to temporarily shelve their competition; their petty prejudice, anger or plain arrogance but sadly,this does not seem to be the case, even in Malaysia.
But no one is explaining or care to share, how such narrow-minded nationalism, religious fanaticism, fascism and race supremacy, conspiracy theories, xenophobia and even Sino phobia will prevent communities and fatalities rising and resulting in all countries and their communities never being the same ever again, post this pandemic which goes by the name of Wuhan virus alias Covid-19!
For now we all risk losing our lives and livelihoods even after the outbreak is over.
May the Almighty help us all!