THE Foreign Affairs in its latest issue declares that SAR-Cov-2 is a ‘virus forever’. It will be part of human life, immortal and will not be lost forever.
First, we must be prepared with a new paradigm that this pandemic will become endemic (common cold). Our recovery strategy must be formulated with this in mind. In the near future, we must increase announcements and increase the number of daily vaccinations and ‘booster doses’ and the percentage of people who have already received the vaccine.
It is a confidence -boosting strategy!
Second, efforts to restore the country must take place now, not waiting for various phases to be announced. Be prepared to open up our economy to the 17 per cent population fully vaccinated. Allow them to work, study, cross districts, go to mosques and do business under strict and clear health protocols. We cannot continue to wait until everyone is vaccinated.
Start now because that is the manifestation that we believe in scientific solutions through vaccination. An increase in economic and social activity will occur with the speed of vaccination, God willing.
Third, this pandemic makes us realize that our workforce needs different skills when the economic sector is totally open. Some of the workforce must be equipped with ‘rare and super skills’.
Our systems, skills, attitudes and work culture can no longer be ‘changeless’. The Malaysian economy is getting worse and slipping because most of our workforce is in ‘non-essential services’. They are not in the financial sector, data, information technology and advanced technology. Because of that, the ‘work from home’ cannot be done effectively.
Unlike Singapore where most of its workforce is in ‘essential services’ and they can work effectively anywhere.
In that case, provide our people with the ‘skills to succeed’. ‘Uskilling’ and ‘reskilling’ programs can be done now. Don’t wait until all sectors are opened to retrain the workforce. Train them while they are at home this time and with future proofing skills.
Finally, the opening up of various economic and social sectors requires us to use a variety of advanced technologies on a large scale and urgently. Provide various incentives for digitization and any transition to ‘mechanization’, artificial intelligence (AI) and ‘robotic technology’.
This is a golden opportunity for Malaysia to re-engineer its economy, technology-driven and innovation and abandoning the orientation of the previous centuries which are already obselete.