IS MALAYSIA STILL A MODERATE STATE ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

 

IS MALAYSIA STILL A MODERATE STATE ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

I have always stated both in the country and abroad, that Malaysians are grateful that we have a professional formidable counter-terrorist unit whose work has kept us all from harm’s way!

And a government with pro-active Home and Defense ministers committed to keeping Malaysia safe!

But we realize as well that our borders, entry and exits points are also very porous and the large western coastline and northern border gaps do not help as well.

Of late with the political instability and pandemic struggles the polarization, race and religious baiting have entered a higher sound byte!

Just read the comment sections of online media, especially the vernacular, to see the unadulterated venom and hate displayed.

It is all race and religion based.

The clusters behind this, vocal, strong, unashamed of their comments and political or religious leanings.

They are not disturbed that their profiles appear alongside their comments.

But the sadness is these extremist ideologies, hatred, intolerance, religious baiting and bigotry, seditious tones and utterances quite explicit cannot but put fear in the hearts and minds of majority peace loving law abiding Malaysians.

But we must ask hard questions.

Who engineered this, and are we going to address them or just pay lip service?

Records will show that the danger is real not an imagination.

We have had reports of Malaysian women apparently sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and have reportedly traveled to the Middle East to offer themselves sexually to militants!

Malaysia initially revealed that about 30 Malaysians might have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS.

Let us not forget, closer to home Indonesians and Malaysians, are among foreign jihadists fighting the Philippine army in Mindanao as stated by Manila’s solicitor-general which is a rare admission that outsiders are collaborating with domestic Islamist groups.

Let us not forget that there are also reports that several terrorists have also have stints at our institution of higher education, while others gone rogue when their cover was blown!

And all these inexplicably has come back to haunt and hurt us, internationally!

As a nation, we must defend our Federal Constitution and the secular state; address these atrocities, race and religious baiting.

As such, it was a welcome sight that the Malay Rulers expressed in 2017 concerns over the eroding unity and harmony in Malaysia, in light of racially controversial issues that have taken place.

A statement from the rulers, signed by keeper of the ruler’s seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, read:

“In recent weeks, the actions of certain individuals have gone beyond all acceptable standards of decency, putting at risk the harmony that currently exists within our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.”

I am glad and it is heartwarming that the Malay Rulers as a body in 2017 have found the present state of affairs in the country unhealthy and even dangerous.

Their stand supports the stand taken by our beloved His Majesty the Sultan of Johor and the Crown Prince!

I am glad that the Crown Prince of Perlis, and the Rulers have criticized the actions of “certain individuals which would further put our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society” at risk.

But it is disturbing and we are called again, to address the perception rightly or wrongly that the most dangerous groups in the country seem to be government-sponsored Muslim bodies and NGOs supposedly established to reach religious righteousness and instead preach only hatred and bigotry.

This made worse by claims of extremists and deviationist teachings by preachers, their converted students and visitors from abroad wanted by their own governments on allegations of funding terrorism and money laundering activities and others from just north of our borders with Thailand!

We must note the latter also uses children to collect monies for various causes but who is monitoring these activities and where are these monies going to?

I have never heard any of these groups advocating the virtues of peace, goodwill, love, generosity, unity in diversity and gentler aspects of their faith; instead there is only more hostility and supremacy preached.

We have state muftis supporting discrimination against non-Muslims; one mufti actually stated that it would be acceptable for non-Muslims to be killed and he is still in office, shockingly!

Was he ever charged by the laws of the nation?

Did he ever apologize?

That is not all, as we witness on a daily dose further intrusions into the rights, interests and practices of non-Muslims – from forms of worship these have spread into one’s culture, way of life, and social practices.

We have cases where a civil servant has refused to execute a court order and till today or others in governance making real progress in apprehending those who openly kidnapped Christian pastors, speculated to have been murdered?

Those behind do not even have the sensitivity or courage to go on record and state it so that families can have their funerals and religious duties performed in absentee!

By all these, what is the perception or message sent out to peace loving and law abiding Malaysians?

What is the message given to these extremists and shenanigans?

We cannot have it both ways – say one thing in international platforms self-righteously claiming moderation but in Malaysia’s ground zero closing both eyes to the continued attacks, race, religious baiting and seditious utterances that goes unattended in domestic political expediency?

Even the utter despicable treatment of animals namely dogs over cats smacks of a travesty of justice and double standards?

The question raised today is, has moderation left Malaysia for good?

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

SCRAP MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME PROGRAM (MM2H) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘I find it rather strange that caution was thrown to wind at a time when, most countries have introduced various tiers of background checks to eliminate homeland and internal security risks!’

SCRAP MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME PROGRAM (MM2H) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

I have repeatedly raised the issues relating to Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) and the weaknesses within that system and program.

Of course, it impacted certain foreigners living here, others who have benefited in this grand hoax that MM2H is the perfect recipe for funds (transfer?) and investments brought in?

It would be also foolish to claim that MM2H had brought RM40.6bil into Malaysia, with more than RM600mil coming in just from MM2H property purchases in 2018.

Now those behind this statement please show us the hard core evidence if not shut up!

If there is any truth in that, what is the current projections post Covid 19?

It is also plain stupidity to claim that just because our economy so desperately needs financial infusion we should blindly open the barn gates!

Let us also stop that baloney that foreigners who often have a choice of where to spend their retirement years but purposefully choose Malaysia, reflects serious endorsement of what Malaysia has to offer – certain future, peace and stability.

I am sure the Home Office has enough statistics and data and the real reasons why this is happening.

 

The last thing we need is a new form of foreign colonization or “settler colonization!”

Already there are massive adverts where promoters are encouraging Westerners to escape the high costs of living in their home countries by seeking refuge in developing nations instead.

The result – these acts can drive up the cost of living in countries where locals earn a much lower wage compared to their expat counterparts.

It exploits locals who earn a comparatively low wage to their foreign counterparts, and drives up the cost of living for people who actually live in Malaysia!

Now, made worst post Covid 19!

There are advertisements which describes that expats can live comfortably for example in Penang island for as low as US$1,500 (RM6,156) per month is a classic give-a-way!

Thanks to the pandemic and the flak received from these ‘new colonists’ in ASEAN countries, it is time to immediately freeze if not terminate all together the MM2H project for good!

I fully and without reservation support the Home Ministry in addressing all matters in MM2H in the Malaysian public interest not the super wealthy billionaires whose greed knows not limits and attempt to speak as if they know what’s best for Malaysia?

So I am very grateful for the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series 2 which highlights all issues on this matter which shows what  certain very powerful personalities, power people, conduits and others were selling for personal greed rather than that of the nation!

Interesting is it not that a total of 1,822 Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme participants left the country between 2015 and 2019 without coming back.

Are we surprised that participants from China made up the largest proportion with 920 who never returned to Malaysia, followed by Japan (214), South Korea (201) and Bangladesh (134).

I find it rather strange even bizarre, that caution was thrown to wind at a time most countries have introduced various tiers of background checks and high tech biometrics to eliminate homeland and internal security risks!

Moreover that the Auditor General’s report highlights the absence of a letter of good conduct (LOGC) requirement to verify that the dependents of the MM2H participants are free from criminal misconduct, posed a risk to national security is a great gap which should never have been!

This was not all, as it was also revealed that no LOGC was attached for 107 dependents of 59 participants as the rules did not stipulate that the letter had to be submitted and that no other method was used to verify the dependents were free from criminal misconduct in the country of origin!

Why are we being so cordial and gullible if not silly and stupid at a time international terrorism is on the rise, with sleeper agents, their financiers and others involved in scandals, scams, money laundering  freely moving and setting up base in this part of the world?

Those of us who address what is at stake with the absence of an integrated database and weaknesses in the internal controls know only too well the clear and present/future danger these poses to internal and homeland security!

Other questions had surrounded on audits and checks whether initiated on the program’s requirement of a minimum offshore income of RM10,000.00 per month.

Was this ever reviewed?

It is also strange that the MM2H participant’s children enjoy eligibility as dependents even though they are over 21 years old which must be another inexplicable and strange case limited to Malaysia’s generosity?

So much is parroted of the economic benefits from these programs but do we have digital smart cards to record information on participants’ property purchases, residential and employment for more effective monitoring purposes?

As you can see there are far too many loopholes, red flags and it is about time that we initiate a comprehensive re-look at this program and not be intimidated by various self-serving personalities take on them, to maintain the status quo, in self-interest!

My take is – it is time for a critical and comprehensive study of this program.

And the Home Office’s view for such is fully supported by me in the public and national interest!

If this is been questioned and manipulated then let us have a clear referendum on the program or better please scrap it entirely!

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

HOME MINISTER’S & IMMIGRATION DG’S ACTION LAUDED FOR ACTION ON ILLEGALS SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘Even last week an immigration team lead by DG Khairul Dzaimee Daud detained business outlets set up by foreigners employing illegals and operation that was very well executed!

It was a great success!

It is time to get rid of the illegal’s safe havens and those who provide them insulation!’

HOME MINISTER’S & IMMIGRATION DG’S ACTION LAUDED FOR ACTION ON ILLEGALS SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

Being a Consumer Advocate and having worked alongside the Home Ministry over 40 years in addressing security matters and the many challengers and threats that confront us from the huge numbers of documented and undocumented workers and foreigners, I cannot but congratulate current Home Minister, Hamzah Zainudin and the Immigration Director General Khairul Dzaimee Daud, for being the first to put a strategic plan along time lines open to audit, which includes a joint inter-ministerial task force.

The plan is a strict departure from previously announced initiatives which at worst, were allegedly still born in view saboteurs!

Manpower is a multi-billion ringgit industry and one should never underestimate the reach and influence of insiders, politicians, political war lords, industry players, brokers, foreign agents and predators!

The predators are very well connected.

Just minutes after a high powered meeting was conveyed these foreign manpower conduits, namely Bangladesh operatives, had in their possession official letterheads on the matter dated 20th September 2021!

As such, my humble opinion is these five key strategies must be strictly enforced:

  1. Enforcement Operation Strategy which underlines the implementation plan relating to enforcement operations against Pati nationwide;
  2. Legislative and Enforcement Policy Strategy which underlines the implementation plan relating to the drafting of new laws and coordination of policies on the enforcement against Pati;
  3. Entry Point and Border Control Strategy, which underlines the implementation plan relating to security control and monitoring activities at the country’s borders and entry points;
  4. Foreigners Management Strategy, which underlines the coordination plan of policies relating to foreign nationals; and
  5. Media and Publicity Strategy, which underlines the plan relating to media coverage, publicity and awareness programs if professionally and without fear nor favor implemented, can see in my humble view and experience, results in the first 18 months!

For the strategy to work, it is pertinent that a new but experienced team be put in place reporting directly to the Home Minister and a special task force set up comprising of experienced members from the security apparatus, various ministries and the qualified NGO professionals!

Without this framework in place, this strategy like its many forerunners since the 80’s will see failure!

The Home Minister has been comprehensively correct and on the ball that it is time we make the Eco-system, where these illegals live and move be made highly uncomfortable!

Basically it is community effort here,

Simple, serious, direct grassroots response and highly effective!

A strategy that involves the state governments, local authorities, village community management councils and village development, security and housing estate committees!

We can all spot a foreigner and stranger in our community!

And we must do our part!

Many are marrying local girls to frustrate the immigration protocols!

Even last week an immigration team lead by DG Khairul Dzaimee Daud detained business outlets set up by foreigners employing illegals and operation that was very well executed!

It is time to get rid of the illegal’s safe havens and those who provide them insulation!

It is also pertinent to ask why there are still Malaysian employers using illegal foreign labor?

It is well known that these employers face penalties based on our Criminal Procedure Code: heavy fines; possible imprisonment; caning when caught employing more than five illegal workers.

No ordinary employer will sneezed at the penalties but the fact remains staring us in the face, foreigners can still find employment illegally.

The inference is super obvious.

The Home Ministry herself confirms that between Jan 1 and June 4 in 2019 the Immigration Department had carried out 7,940 operations, during which almost 100,000 foreigners were screened.

That legal action had also been taken against 23,295 Pati, with Indonesian nationals making up the highest number of those arrested at 8,011 (34 percent), followed by Bangladeshis (5,272 or 23 percent) and the remaining comprising those from Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and others.

No small number these.

But we have a saying that for every one offender caught ten get away!

And that is never a joke!

It is obvious that the benefits of cheap labor far outweigh the fear of getting caught, which, in turn, means that enforcement is either far from adequate or officers can be bought off.

Given the reports of corruption in the Immigration Department and other security apparatus structures following the human trafficking scandals recently, this is a serious probability which has to be addressed, not ignored or swept under the carpet!

I remember that even once not long ago, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, had remarked both on the sine-biotic relationship between corruption and illegals!

I have repeatedly stated that the danger facing Malaysia, which includes terrorism, is real, given the danger of our open borders and recent arrests!

All entry and exit points must be plugged because the situation is no longer a benign one of “helping thy neighbor”, the poor from neighboring countries in a simple quid pro quo arrangement!

All law abiding peace loving Malaysians, do pray that the efforts now proposed will address what was previously a labor shortage issue now transformed into one with internal security implications!

And locals, foreigners and their conduits, whosoever they may be, in the process must be treated as a security risk and action taken immediately!

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

MALAYSIA, ASEAN, APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE – ADDRESSING CORRUPTION MUST BE A GLOBAL EFFORT TODAY!

“And there must be political will, not rhetoric and attempts to protect shenanigans and politicians, under the excuse, that corruption is a domestic affair, and, its exposure undermines the sovereignty of a nation!
 
And to address corruption on an international platform with a international response where countries cannot continue to operate in international trade and global activities when one’s country’s is a beehive of systemic and endemic corruption!
MALAYSIA, ASEAN, APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE – ADDRESSING CORRUPTION MUST BE A GLOBAL EFFORT TODAY!
It is a fact that corruption is nothing new in many parts of the world!
So much said, written, discussed, exploited, promised and denied!
From East to West, North to South, we all know how corruption damages the social and institutional fabric of many countries, but despite so, it is far more potent in today’s society, then it ever was and in some, systemic, justified in race and political ideology!
As such, I will instead attempt to look at the reform options and avenues open to future generations to address this abomination and sin, that has gone untouched, unaddressed and even if addressed, only cosmetically!
I have always being an advocate who has recommended a  two-pronged strategy aimed at increasing the benefits of being honest and the costs of being corrupt, what I call a sensible combination of “reward and punishment” as the driving force of reforms.
To address it, I will attempt to look at several options available to us.
1. A Well Paid Civil Service!
Will a well-paid civil service act as a deterrent against corruption?
This was raised in Singapore several decades ago, and addressed implemented accordingly and successfully, by that government to this date!
And credit to the much endeared and loved affectionately, founding father of Singapore, the late Premier, Mr Lee Kuan Yew!
Some say that whether civil servants are appropriately compensated or grossly underpaid will clearly affect motivation and incentives.
That if the public sector wages are too low, employees may find themselves under pressure to supplement their incomes in corrupt activities.
I will not deny that there is evidence from several countries, where this is true with empirical work showing that in a sample of less developed countries, there is an inverse relationship between the level of public sector wages and the incidence of corruption.
But, then again, there are also evidence that greed has no borders as seen in several countries, where despite wealth and political power, greed over-runs all like a runaway bullet train!
2. Transparency & Independent Appropriation and Procurement Task Force
Only the corrupt, will disagree that the creation of transparency and openness in government spending will curtail and reduce corrupt activities.
In several countries, both rich and poor subsidies, tax exemptions, public procurement of goods and services, soft credits, extra-budgetary funds under the control of politicians—all are elements of the various ways in which governments manage public resources.
And yes, governments collect taxes, tap the capital markets to raise money, receive foreign aid and develop mechanisms to allocate these resources to satisfy a multiplicity of needs.
I cannot deny that several countries do this in ways, that are relatively transparent and make efforts, to ensure that resources will be used in the public interest.
The more open and transparent the process, the less opportunity it will provide for malfeasance and abuse.
I have always advocated and supported a narrative, that in countries where citizens are able to scrutinize government activities and debate the merits of various public policies also makes a difference.
In this respect, press freedoms and levels of literacy will, likewise, shape in important ways, the context for reforms.
Whether the country has an active civil society, with a culture of participation could be an important ingredient supporting various strategies aimed at reducing corruption.
And governments should not hide  corruption by hiding behind the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for example, or other draconian statutes like the outdated Sedition Act!
For example, let me cite New Zealand, which is consistently one of the top performers in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index!
Are you aware that New Zealand is a pioneer in creating transparent budget processes, having approved in 1994 the Fiscal Responsibility Act, providing a legal framework for transparent management of public resources.
I have yet to discover any other country doing so!
3. Cutting Red Tape
I have always believed, and still do – that when governments create bureaucratic red tape and zig-zag policies, constant U-turns, it is an active potent avenue to spearhead corruption and this is very true in many countries!
And there is a very high correlation between the incidence of corruption, and the extent of bureaucratic red tape, as captured, for instance, by the Doing Business indicators suggests, the desirability of eliminating as many needless regulations while safeguarding the essential regulatory functions of the state.
The sorts of regulations that are on the books of many countries—to open up a new business, to register property, to engage in international trade, and a plethora of other certifications and licenses—the engagement of foreign workers, all these are sometimes not only extremely burdensome, but governments have often not paused to examine whether the purpose for which they were introduced, is at all relevant to the needs of the present!
My call to all governments in the ASEAN and APEC region is immediately to eliminate laws and programs that breed corruption.
4. Replacing Regressive and Distorting Subsidies with Targeted Cash Incentives.
Subsidies are another example of how government policy can distort incentives and create opportunities for corruption.
We are agree that the objective of subsidies were to address inequalities and economic disparities within target populations by a “means test” but these are also under attack by abuse!
Did you know that according to an IMF study (2013), consumer subsidies for energy products amount to some $1.9 trillion per year, equivalent to about 2.5 percent of global GDP or 8 percent of government revenues.
These subsidies are very regressively distributed, with over 60 percent of total benefits accruing to the richest 20 percent of households, in the case of gasoline.
Removing them, could result in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and generate other positive spillover effects.
In many countries, which includes Malaysia, subsidies often lead to smuggling, to shortages, and to the emergence of black markets.
Putting aside the issue of the opportunity costs (how many schools could be built with the cost of one year’s energy subsidy?), and the environmental implications associated with artificially low prices, subsidies can often put the government at the center of corruption-generating schemes.
I have always advocated, that it is far  better to replace expensive, regressive subsidies with targeted cash transfers with the protocols put in!
Should this not be instead encouraged now?
5. Entrenching International Conventions
Thanks to a globalized economy corruption, today has a cross-border dimension, and the international legal framework for corruption control is a key element among the options open to governments.
And I am grateful that this framework has improved significantly over the past decade.
And in addition to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, in 2005 the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) entered into force, and by late 2013 had been ratified by the vast majority of its 140 signatories.
Let me tell you, that the UNCAC is a promising instrument, because it creates a global framework involving developed and developing nations and covers a broad range of subjects, including domestic and foreign corruption, extortion, preventive measures, anti-money laundering provisions, conflict of interest laws, means to recover illicit funds deposited by officials in offshore banks, among others.
And those nations who are signatories – you have a duty of care, a social international responsibility to implement these, without fail!
And true, that the UN has no enforcement powers, and as such, the effectiveness of the Convention as a tool to deter corruption will very much depend on the establishment of adequate national, international and cross border, monitoring mechanisms to assess government compliance and major global sanctions to follow for noncompliance.
And as someone learned and schooled in Law, I have always argued that a more workable approach in the fight against corruption may consist of more robust implementation of the anti corruption laws in the 40 states that have signed the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention.
And there must be political will, not rhetoric and attempts to protect shenanigans and politicians, under the excuse, that corruption is a domestic affair and its exposure undermines the sovereignty of a nation!
To be effective, in the private sector, governments, will need to be more pro-active in cracking down on OECD companies, that continue to bribe foreign officials.
In their efforts to protect the commercial interests of national companies, governments have at times been tempted to shield companies from the need to comply with anti corruption laws, in a misguided attempt not to undermine their position vis-à-vis competitors in other countries.
And certainly, trade promotion should not be seen to trump corruption control.
Many governments continue to be afflicted by double standards, criminalizing bribery at home, but, often looking the other way when bribery involves foreign officials in non-OECD countries or the other way around?
6. Deploying Smart Technology
Just as government-induced distortions, provide many opportunities for corruption, it is also the case that frequent, direct contact between government officials and citizens can open the way for illicit transactions.
And one way to address this problem, is to use readily available technologies to encourage more of an arms-length relationship, between officials and civil society!
In this respect, the Internet has been proved to be an effective tool to reduce corruption.
In several countries, the use of online platforms to facilitate the government’s interactions with civil society and the business community, has been particularly successful in the areas of tax collection, public procurement, and red tape.
Perhaps, one of the most fertile sources of corruption in the world, is associated with the purchasing activities of the state.
Purchases of goods and services by the state can be sizable, in most countries somewhere between 5-10 percent of GDP.
More so, the arms industry for starters!
Even vaccines and more recently Covid 19 vaccine supply chains have some-what been included in the basket?
And not surprisingly, the awarding of contracts can involve a measure of bureaucratic discretion, and because most countries have long histories of graft, kickbacks, and collusion in public procurement, more and more countries have opted for procedures that guarantee adequate levels of openness, competition, a level playing field for suppliers, fairly clear bidding procedures, and so on.
In this respect, Chile is one country that has used the latest technologies, to create one of the world’s most transparent public procurement systems in the world.
For example, ChileCompra was launched in 2003, and is a public electronic system for purchasing and hiring, based on an Internet platform.
It has earned a worldwide reputation for excellence, transparency and efficiency.
It serves companies, public organizations as well as individual citizens, and is by far the largest business-to-business site in the country, involving 850 purchasing organizations.
I am advised that in 2012, users completed 2.1 million purchases issuing invoices totaling US$9.1 billion.
It has also been a catalyst for the use of the Internet throughout the country.
So far in my narrative herewith, is aimed at combating corruption, with the underlying philosophy that eliminating the opportunity for corruption, by changing incentives, by closing off loopholes and eliminating misconceived rules that encourage corrupt behavior, we address the issue.
But at the same time, I am fully committed to an approach, that focuses solely on changing the rules and the incentives, accompanied by appropriately harsh punishment, for violation of the rules!
To be far more effective, if it is also supported by efforts to buttress the moral and ethical foundation of human behavior.
One final word!
In many countries questions are also asked whether corruption the cause where mob activities are so profitable that organised crime can afford to keep in its payroll government officials at various levels, including politicians and law enforcers, to influence the legal system in its favor?
That criminals are also able to establish ties with supportive officials who pass information to them about investigations and intended raids, and by making intentional mistakes in prosecutions, resulting in court cases being thrown out or resulting in ‘No further Action (NFA)?’
The time has come to address corruption on an international platform with a international response where countries cannot continue to operate in international trade and global activities when one’s country’s is a beehive of systemic and endemic corruption!
DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

RESPECT STATE DECISIONS ON OPENING UP URGES MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

 

‘I have always stated that public interest and lives should not be compromised at the altars of greed and political aspirations for profits!’

RESPECT STATE DECISIONS ON OPENING UP URGES MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

So at the time of writing I am briefed by Melaka officials that they have declined to open borders for tourists on Oct 1.

The move certainly goes against the so called Putrajaya’s travel bubble initiative and welcome visitors starting Oct 1.

But, I fully agree and respect dear friend and Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali statement that the state will only allow interstate activities once the state achieves a 90 percent vaccination rate among its adult population based on data and analysis issued by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council (NSC).

As of Sept 22, Malacca recorded an 80.6 percent vaccination rate.

We need to respect our state leaders and their administrative positions.

I had also sent a message to Melaka Governor, Tun Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam, as well that I fully support the states protocols on the matter!

I had for many years worked alongside him when he was the state’s Chief Minister!

But, I was surprised certainly from Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali’s statement which alluded that he does not want a situation like what happened in Langkawi, where 36 Covid-19 cases were recorded on the second day after it was opened to tourists.

If this statement is true, I am curious why this was not made public?

Why the secrecy?

I have always stated that public interest and lives should not be compromised at the altars of greed and political aspirations for profits!

So I do agree with Chief Minister Sulaiman that we have to be careful, we have to look at our capabilities with stricter standard operating procedures and not get carried away by lobbyist on various frolics!

Most important I am encouraged that our premier and dear friend, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has indeed announced that interstate travel and tourism activities will be allowed once 90 percent of the country’s adult population is fully vaccinated.

However he too had alluded to that there must be strict compliance to standard operating procedures!

The last thing we need is another upswing in the cases of Covid 19 and surmounting deaths all around us!