A country is very much judged on how well it handles a crisis and for Malaysia, we seem to be doing pretty good at it!
A university professor from the United States who just returned from a “poorly timed trip to Malaysia” with his family, took to social media to praise Malaysia’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jason Hassenstab shared on Facebook and Twitter, the comparison between his home country and Malaysia’s government in handling the crisis, after he had safely arrived in the US from his trip to Sabah.
“I wanted to share a couple of stark contrasts I noticed between the country of Malaysia and the US” he wrote.
He began by acknowledging the presence of enforcement officials across the country, even in the secluded area they were staying in.
“Evidence of Malaysia's COVID-19 enforcement was evident everywhere, even in the remote rainforest where we were staying.”
Then it’s onto Malaysia’s messaging system that disseminates important information such as tips and warnings on the daily, so the citizens are well-informed.
“Mobile carriers sent a message about social distancing every day. The carrier ID at the top of my phone that normally says ATT or Sprint said "Stay Home" instead.”
Jason and his family had to cut his trip short and returned to the US immediately, but that’s not without praising the level of preparedness Malaysia has in dealing with a global pandemic.
“In Kuala Lumpur airport, they had security guards enforcing distancing. Information banners with written and visual guidance were everywhere printed by their ministry of health,” he wrote.
“The seats in the airport were taped off so that there was an empty seat between each open one. All employees were wearing masks, hand sanitizer was at virtually every counter, cash register, and at stations posted everywhere, “he added.
“Their gov’t has a totally consistent message: stay home, keep your distance, clean your hands. AND THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS DOING IT.”
Photo: Facebook Jason Hassenstab
Jason compared all that he’s experienced with the situation back in the United States where things seem to be a little out of hand.
“At the busiest airport in the world in Atlanta, maybe 5% of customs and border control personnel were wearing masks or gloves.”
“Hand sanitizer was nowhere to be found other than at some of the bathrooms. Shops and stores were open, business as usual.”
While Malaysians have enforced the restricted movement order and social distancing whenever they are to be outside under the supervision of the police and the army, in the United States, people were jamming together in lines and nobody was enforcing spacing, according to Jason. Some people even stared and shook their heads when they saw his family wearing masks.
Jason also mentioned that his family were screened upon returning because they had visited Malaysia and Singapore, but other passengers coming from countries such as Japan, UK, and other EU countries passed through with no further screening or protection measures.
Jason’s posting has gone viral in Malaysia’s social media with more than 7K retweets on Twitter and 2.6K shares on Facebook.
Netizens mostly agreed with Jason’s claims and praised Malaysia’s effort in containing the deadly virus.
Jason ended his post reminding the public about the gravity of the situation and how everyone should be treating this crisis more seriously.
“We need a clear and consistent message to truly #flattenthecurve, and it speaks volumes about our leadership that we need model our nationwide response after other countries like Malaysia.
We hope Jason and his family are safe and sound back in the United States. As for Malaysians, the whole world is looking, so let’s be mindful of our actions and fight through these trying times together.
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya