Malaysians’ white flags put COVID economic pain on full display
KUALA LUMPUR — In normal times, passersby would assume Karupiah Rangan had hung his white dhoti up to dry. But when the factory worker raised the traditional Indian sarong outside his wooden house this week, it was a plea for help.
Karupiah, 54, joined thousands of Malaysians seeking aid by displaying the international symbol of surrender. These people are telling the world they have lost the battle for financial survival through the various COVID-19 restrictions imposed since March 2020.
A year and a half into the pandemic, the country of about 32 million people is now fighting one of the region’s most serious outbreaks. Despite a nationwide “total lockdown” imposed on June 1 and extended indefinitely, daily cases have climbed back above 6,000 after briefly dropping below 5,000, keeping the health system under intense pressure.
Per million people in the population, Malaysia’s seven-day average of more than 190 daily cases exceeds the…