Let’s gear up for a healthier, more sustainable post-Covid world

Cut back on all those grandiose plans of modernisation. What we already have is good enough to see 32 million people through the next decade.

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Picture postcard: Cleaner waters and bluer skies in Penang during a recent lockdown - ANIL NETTO

The Covid pandemic is not over, and many economies will not escape a battering. The future will not be along a familiar path.  

Even countries with high vaccination rates by 2022 cannot be complacent as the coronavirus mutates alarmingly.

Capitalism faces a vulnerable journey in the decade ahead.

Meanwhile, potential territorial wars are building up in several flashpoints around the globe.

Will Malaysian leaders listen up? Here are some pathways to explore urgently.   

Focus on moving away from an export-based economy to one where we can achieve domestic market self-reliance.

If we can feed our 32 million people by taking advantage of our conducive climate and centuries-old farming capabilities, we will be more prepared when global economies crack up.

Stop the oligarch sectors and the technocrat-driven privatisation agenda. We will not be better off with the tallest buildings and mega-concrete cities.

We can proclaim that will create more billionaires. But that will not save the 32 million people from the upheavals sweeping the globe.

Focus on fast-tracking health science knowledge among the people to empower the people quickly.  

Focus on disseminating knowledge and understanding about how we can enhance our immune systems with local produce.

Introduce a fitness and exercising culture nationwide.

Learn how to shut down the country at night so that everyone gets enough sleep and rest. Start by getting restaurants to close by 10pm. Businesses trying to make an extra buck by running overtime will invariably weaken the people’s health by disrupting their normal sleep and dietary patterns.

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Our habit of hanging around for late suppers and drinking binges must stop. Entertainment outlets operating beyond 10pm may seem like they are helping the economy. But a strong economy should serve the people’s overall health and not undermine it.

Stop saying that this is a Malaysian lifestyle, that we need to develop the country with round-the-clock factories. It never was our lifestyle until greed set in.

Focus on fighting disease by boosting our immune systems with local produce and sufficient daily sleep, rest and exercise.

As capitalism takes a beating in the coming years, domestic self-reliance will ensure people do not go hungry.

A hungry person is usually an angry person. Social unrest would be inevitable no matter how many restrictive laws the government passes under the cover of an emergency ordinance.

Recalibrate the national economy fast. We have wasted one year already.

The global trend is clear. The virus will take much longer to fade away.

Looking at our healthcare dichotomy between the private and public services and the already stretched healthcare workers, we will be tough to withstand another surge in infectious disease cases.

Strong immune systems with a strong domestic economy will enable us to contain the fallout as we observe strict basic hygiene standards: washing hands frequently, wearing genuine face masks and observing physical distancing.

If we let the people remain mobile 24 hours and in the name of reviving the economy (in reality, to maximise profits) allow businesses to operate for long hours, we weaken the entire community’s immunity.

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Introduce frugal living. Cut back on wasted resources. Prevent trades from overpricing their goods.

Cut back on all those grandiose plans of modernisation. What we already have is good enough to see 32 million people through the next decade.

Slow down. Scale back. Enhance healthy living. Promote food science more rather than political and religious mantras.

Are the Malaysian government and its people ready to recalibrate?

These are unchartered times globally. Many of the economic mantras of the “mega-trends” era are peeling away. Many believe the capitalism we have been chasing after is reaching burnout.

Perhaps the media can play a role to encourage debate. Civil society leaders can begin a fresh wave of sustainable thinking among the people.

Are we ready to harness our common sense and think creatively?

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Mohamad Ali Hassan
Mohamad Ali Hassan
6 Jun 2021 6.39am

The paragraph starting with “A hungry person” seems incomplete with a word missing. On the whole, there are many good suggestions and some NGOs should be assigned to follow up on these suggestions through nationwide campaigns.

Aliran admin
Admin
6 Jun 2021 6.49am

Thanks, well spotted. We have made the correction.