Govt should conduct business online, postpone non-essential travel: Expert

Ella Castle

UNIVERSITI Malaya academician Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit says government leaders should conduct meetings via webinars and postpone all non-essential travel to reduce Covid-19 transmission risks. Noting that people nowadays can do business remotely and work from home, he said that given our good internet infrastructure, the government […]

UNIVERSITI Malaya academician Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit says government leaders should conduct meetings via webinars and postpone all non-essential travel to reduce Covid-19 transmission risks.

Noting that people nowadays can do business remotely and work from home, he said that given our good internet infrastructure, the government can temporarily function via its online platform.

“Let’s carry on using video conferencing app Zoom, and make full use of it.”

He pointed out that many world leaders could still run their countries (online) after they were infected with the coronavirus, such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and most recently, US President Donald Trump.

“Of course, we hope (our) ministers would take the necessary measures, observe the standard operating procedures (SOP) and avoid getting infected,” Lam was quoted by China Press as saying in a report yesterday.

He said government leaders should switch to the e-platform in discharging their duties if their physical presence could expose themselves to health risks or be a health risk to the public.

Put the interests of the public above all else and avoid unnecessary risk, he reminded these leaders.

“Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has given an assurance that he would continue to run the country from home. Given the technological advancement, this is definitely possible. He has done it before.”

Lam reiterated that holding the Sabah state election was clearly not the right decision, as evident from the spread of Covid cases to several states in the peninsula (by people returning from the state).

It also showed that large gatherings, non-compliance of SOP and a large movement of people will increase the transmission risk, he added.

“This is the scenario for a state election. Can you imagine the government calling for a snap general election? Many experts have already warned against it, I hope the government will take heed.”

Lam, the prominent scientist central to the discovery of the nipah virus that causes severe disease in both animals and humans, said political leaders should reduce the number of meetings, or visits to their constituencies, as well as postpone non-essential activities, adding that should they become Covid-positive, it would be very difficult to trace all those who had close contact with them.

He said had Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri cut down on the number of activities, or self-quarantined after he returned from Sabah, the situation would not have been so messy. Now, we can only hope he did not infect those whom he had close contact with.

“Don’t let what has happened (the ravages of the pandemic) in the US happen in Malaysia. Everyone should be responsible. Malaysia should have learned the US lesson, we must do better than the US.”

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