Government should respond to Nathaniel Tan’s appeals promptly

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The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) stands in solidarity with Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR) coordinator Nathaniel Tan, who recently launched a personal hunger strike to declare the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s ineptitude in fighting against the pandemic.

We hereby urge both the Perikatan Nasional government and the prime minister to listen to the rakyat, respond to Nathaniel Tan’s demands promptly, and revise the Covid recovery plan – that has been repeatedly revised and criticised upon – immediately.

Due to the ineffective handling of the national recovery plan, Nathaniel announced through his personal Facebook page on 4 August his hunger strike campaign at a corner of the street in Taman Tun Dr Ismail near his home. By using a non-violent fasting protest to express five demands, the activist hoped to draw the government’s attention, as well as highlight to the rakyat the government’s repeated failures in the Covid prevention plans.

The demands of Nathaniel Tan are as follows:

1. Hand over the decision-making power over the Covid pandemic recovery to relevant experts or reconvene Parliament meetings immediately

2. Purchase about RM500m of medical equipment for hospitals to treat patients with Covid. Doctors can freely choose the equipment they need without going through tedious bureaucratic procedures

3. Allow all frontline health workers to disclose and reveal the work efforts to combat Covid and ensure they will not be dealt with severe punishments for “whistleblowing”. Therefore, they can disclose any Covid-related data in a fair, transparent manner

4. Publish the full list of companies approved to operate during the movement control order

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5. Provide free N95 masks and hand sanitisers to frontline workers serving in hospitals and police stations

The Covid pandemic continues to spread and rage across our country. The government has implemented different stages of the Covid recovery plans across the country for more than two months.

However, the pandemic curve has not been flattened. On the contrary, the number of Covid-positive cases per day exceeded the 20,000 mark in recent days, related deaths reached a record high of 360 lives lost on 8 August, with the total number of Covid deaths exceeding 10,000 nationwide.

KLSCAH is united with Nathaniel Tan on his five demands, especially with demands no. 1, 2 and 3. These three demands can be described as the most urgent and crucial to the Covid recovery strategy.

The government must remedy these desperate times with the right measures; they must strengthen cooperation with NGOs and revise the national recovery plan accordingly. Without the proper solutions, the shocking rise in the number of Covid cases in our country will continue to have a negative domino effect on our rakyat. – KLSCAH, 9 August 2021

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