By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader has questioned the government’s transparency in sharing the COVID-19 data, contending that statistics released to the public does not tally with the recent drop in the number of daily cases.

Pointing to the dramatic drop in fresh daily infections which went from 9,020 on May 29 to 4,949 on June 14, the vast difference would seem like a miracle until one took note of high positive rates and high fatality rates during the same period, Anwar said in a statement.

He asserted that the data made available to the public did not support an actual 45 percent drop in daily cases because the continued high utilisation of ICU beds and the proliferation of severe COVID-19 cases seemed to indicate a higher number of new cases than reported.

The PKR president noted that on May 29, a total of 126,480 tests were conducted and testing had increased in the 15 days before that by 166 percent. However, daily reported cases had likewise increased 104 percent during that same period and the case positive rate was near or above 7 percent during the first week of June.

Since May 29, he said, daily cases had dropped 45 percent and daily testing also dropped 44 percent.

“Case positive rates have been rising for three days and have averaged 6.67 percent for the last seven days. In some states, the positive rate is as high as 13 percent,” he said.

Highlighting the inconsistency, he asked if it was possible for the government to manipulate the perception of the severity of the pandemic through a selective presentation of data.

“It is possible that data can be manipulated to show the virus is spreading fast enough to justify the ongoing granting of emergency powers to the PN government, but not fast enough to highlight the government’s manifest incompetence in managing the pandemic.

“Are daily cases higher than 10,000? The only way to be certain is to follow scientific methods. If we test more and find more cases, then we can properly isolate, contact, trace and support those infected individuals.

“If we test more and do not find cases, only then can we have certainty that the spread is declining,” he said.

Anwar said many health experts had voiced similar concerns but the health ministry remained silent about it.

He said the management of the pandemic should not be politicised.

“Allowing politics and narrow political interests to dictate strategy is a recipe for failure, more lost lives and destruction of the Malaysian economy.

“If we do not follow science, as appears to be the case with the PN government, then the tremendous sacrifices made by Malaysians during lockdowns will be for nought. The virus will continue to spread, maim and kill,” he said.