KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today shared on his blog ‘Chedet’, about his COVID-19 quarantine, how he had come into contact with infected persons, and his observations on the global economic gloom due to the pandemic.
In his posting titled ‘Quarantine’, Dr Mahathir who is under home quarantine, said his COVID-19 experience began on March 12 when he met a group of young Members of Parliament from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, who had requested to take a photograph with him before leaving.
"They crowded around me closely so as to be in the photo,” he said, adding that five days later, his assistant Sufi Yusoff showed him the photo and said that one of the MPs from Sarawak had tested positive for COVID-19.
"I did not think much of it. I was feeling well. Indeed, many visitors remarked on how well I looked. But the authorities thought differently. A team of doctors and nurses arrived at the Perdana Leadership Foundation where I was working and stopped me as I was going home for lunch.
"They took a swab and told me I had to be quarantined for 14 days from the date of contact,” he wrote.
MAHATHIR-CHEDET 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR
In his posting, Dr Mahathir stressed that COVID-19 was contagious, and fatal in a number of cases, and in order to manage the contagion, it was necessary to isolate people and avoid travel.
However, he noted, there was a downside in cutting down on travel in Malaysia, as the tourism industry was the country’s second biggest foreign exchange earner after petroleum, and in the process, the government would lose a lot of revenue.
"The airlines will suffer. The tourist industry will suffer. The hotels, ground transport, restaurants will suffer. Employees will suffer as they may be laid off. Their employers will not be earning money enough to pay them,” he added.
He also highlighted the effects of COVID-19 on the petroleum industry, with the price per barrel falling by more than 50 per cent, a development that will reduce government revenue to RM30 billion.
The former premier noted that the stimulus package aimed at cushioning the fallout from COVID-19 involved an increase in government expenditure and a decrease in taxes, while in the meantime, even a partial lock down would reduce business and profits, also affecting the government revenue.
It was even worse for the small enterprises, and the government might have to give them financial support, he said, going on to observe that what was happening in Malaysia was also happening to the rest of the world, and that economies worldwide would go into recession and even the richest countries would suffer.
He ended his posting with this observation: "Truly, we all are faced with a terrible catastrophe".
Tags: Mahathir, COVID-19, blog, Chedet, quarantine