THE ‘MH370 STUPIDITY’ HITS US AGAIN IN THE CORONAVIRUS SCARE SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE

THE ‘MH370 STUPIDITY’ HITS US AGAIN IN THE CORONAVIRUS SCARE SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on 8 March 2014, after departing from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

When it was eventually told to us by a third party that one of our passenger planes is missing and the week after saw every politician, top security apparatus brass, civil servant jump in on an international tragedy that was to eventually confirm that those who gave statements after statements were a bunch of super idiots, when we look back today – 6 years later with no sign either of that wreckage or truth to their claims!

But we showed then we were incompetent, our crisis management methods and people skills handling the global press were shocking!

Today in the height of the Coronavirus scare again, we see a repetition.

Everyone wants to say something, even if this now global scare has nothing to do with their ministerial portfolio!

This is the culture of busybody for which we have yet to find a vaccine!

Why just politicians, we have even those who may be medical doctors by training, but for decades not practiced, let alone kept up with the latest developments in medicine, as they have given up practice to be politicians, full time – holding press conferences and saying the most stupid utterances!

Basically, some politicians suffer from a sense of thinking that they are so indispensable, they need to get in on the circus.

Wrong, the only three persons who should be making statements or giving updates no matter how bad the news is are:
1. The Health Minister,
2. The Director General Of Health
3. The Head of Malaysia’s communicable disease unit!

Most importantly, from MH370 saga, we should have learnt that addressing crisis is a specialized area of expertise!

And truth matters, no matter how it is going to affect one’s personal and professional position!

You cannot pretend all is well!

You cannot mislead!

The faster the truth is out it gets everyone aligned, working together to assist bring calm to the situation.

If you mislead, come out with half-truths and lies you will be caught in today’s advances in information technology and the social media!

In Malaysia, perhaps there is no political conviction to sack someone for incompetence; we just move them to another task?

Of course, those caught lying will threaten whistle-blowers with statutes and penal sanctions, which is an abomination and misuse of the law!

I have no issues warning, those peddling fake news, most importantly using race and religion!

But now globally, I think we have bigger problems with the ‘kiss ass’ statement coming out of the World Health Organisation (WHO) head, saying that he was confident in China’s ability to contain a new coronavirus that has killed 106 people and that he did not think foreigners should be evacuated!

And this is the WHO!

I believe the WHO must declare the 2019-nCoV outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)!

Why do I say this?

A PHEIC will facilitate global teams of experts to assist China.
How many deaths will it take for a PHEIC to be declared?

Let us put aside international politics aside, please!

As we say in my country, do not be ‘bodoh sombong!’

While this drama continues, to unfold a growing number of countries have said they will evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, a central city of 11 million people and the epicentre of the outbreak, which is timely.

There are reports of chartered planes prepared to take out for example US consulate staff.

India said it was preparing to evacuate its citizens from Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

At the time of writing, I am advised that the three new countries affected now are Germany, Sri Lanka and Cambodia!

According to reports, a Chinese man from Wuhan, traveling with three family members who entered Cambodia through Sihanoukville International Airport, tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus!

The confirmation came from their Health Minister Mam Bunheng during a press conference there.

So this is an ever changing narrative, far too many moving parts, and, it is important that we bring everyone on board to help in a holistic response, in handling this global crisis!

There are reports that the number of known cases of the new virus rose by nearly 60 percent overnight in China.

There are reports of a shortage of test kits has led experts to warn that the real number may be higher!

Is China still massaging the statistics?

My friends in Hong Kong have updated me that – Hong Kong will severely limit travel from mainland China, suspending high-speed rail service and cutting flights by half.

This is a great move and no time to play global politics!