Think City:M’sia must act fast on Covid-19 recovery

Malaysia must act swiftly to put in place key national recovery strategies to address critical health, economic and social issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, says Think City, a social purpose organisation that provides urban policy thinking, management and implementation of urban solutions.

Hamdan Abdul Majeed, Think City Managing Director said, “The nation, as a collective, needs to work together and leverage on the collective know-how of policy-makers and thought leaders in the country to take swift and decisive action in managing the Covid-19 outbreak, which will likely last for several months and prepare for longer-term changes in the post-Covid19 world.

“The medical crisis that we are facing now is just the tip of the iceberg of the global economic and social crises that will follow. Although some measures have been announced by the local government – as a nation, we need to actively monitor global intelligence and movements, and act swiftly on them,” he said.

As part of their corporate response to the Covid-19 crisis, Think City published key strategies for Malaysia’s recovery in a detailed plan (for the immediate and medium to long term) aimed as a working guide for Malaysian policy-makers to address critical health, economic and social issues related to the pandemic.

Published on their media channel The Citymaker, the plan is based on localised strategies derived from research and in-depth analyses of how the virus has affected other cities, as well as expert forecasts and projections on five key areas: Healthcare, the National Economy, Food Security, Supply Chains and Vulnerable Communities.

“We have developed this working guide based on evidence, which looks beyond the duration of the Movement Control Order, to take proactive steps towards mitigating the impending effects of the pandemic on our country. As developments occur, we will continue to analyse emerging data to refine the plan,” said Hamdan.

He added that the guide would act as a platform for national discourse on the crisis. “It is our hope that this initial guide and upcoming content that we are working on as a company effort will act as a tool and a starting point to galvanise the best minds in the country – policymakers, captains of industry and thought leaders – to share their knowledge and collectively overcome the effects of Covid-19, as well as prepare for recovery. We welcome any feedback on the guide and are open to working with all relevant parties,” he said.

Titled, ‘COVID-19 CRISIS: PRESERVING LIVES & LIVELIHOODS – A GUIDE FOR MALAYSIAN POLICYMAKERS’, the plan outlines the following issues and corresponding strategies:

● The COVID-19 crisis is at least a 3-month crisis with longer-term impacts on society and the economy, requiring a longer-term “on-off” adaptive suppression strategy.

● Healthcare impact: Malaysia has insufficient hospital beds to manage the peak outbreak. Additional capacities need to be increased with immediate urgency and coordinated action taken to flatten the curve and spread out demand on resources.

● National economy: Covid-19 is a triple shock on the economy (supply, demand, and financial). There is a need to save lives and manage the impact on livelihoods while concurrently managing the economic shock and its consequences.

● Food security: Domestic food consumption may be affected by disrupted supply chains. Access to stable, sufficient, and healthy food supply at affordable prices is key, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

● Supply chain: Critical Supply Chains need to be identified, protected and allowed to operate under high risk mitigation parameters.

● Vulnerable communities: An estimated 5.1 mil people from vulnerable communities (elderly and migrant workers) and 2.8 mil B40 households require additional measures as they are at greater risk from the COVID-19 outbreak and the social and economic consequences.

● A 24-month Emergency Response Plan is required to soften and manage the effects of the crisis and to prepare Malaysia for a post-Covid world.

● A strong National Approach is needed that embraces a 3-pronged management strategy: Manage the pandemic, manage the affected, and manage the economy and the post-crisis impact.

● The National Approach needs to mobilise all the assets of the country including public, private and civil sectors to support the Emergency Response Plan. The 6C approach provides a framework for this concerted effort –

○ Coordinate: Ensure all efforts are clearly and holistically coordinated between and within government, private sector, and communities and all regionally and internationally.

○ Collaborate: Leverage physical, social, and intangible assets of different stakeholders through a bottom-up approach – e.g. from community organisations, NGOs, academia, and the global community.

○ Calibrate: As the outbreak situation is rapidly developing, plans and strategies need to be regularly reassessed and calibrated to ensure that they are relevant.

○ Communicate: Have clear and transparent communication via traditional and new media, from a single coordinated point.

○ Channel: As the COVID-19 infections are cluster-based and impact specific groups, communities, and areas, ensure that sufficient resources are channelled appropriately to these clusters

○ Celebrate: There will be social distress during crises such as this; therefore it is important to celebrate achievements and implement initiatives to ensure national morale is high.

This guide is part of Think City’s corporate response movement which comprises the above-mentioned plan, as well as articles, talks and serialised online content. For more information, please see:

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