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2021 in Retrospect

2021 has been a full rollercoaster ride with ups and downs.

Certainly for some, it has been a year full of blessings, joy and happiness. Whilst unfortunate to some, it might not have been their best year of all. In conjunction with the idea of ‘clean slate’, it will be great to reflect and look back at the year 2021. This article will give you a brief overview of the events that occurred in Malaysia throughout the year.

1. Pandemic

Tracing back to January 2020, since the first COVID-19 case was discovered in Malaysia, there has been recurring waves and outbreaks of the disease.[1] While citizens in Malaysia had been holding on to the hope that the pandemic will eventually end, the situation did not however get any better in 2021.

On the last day of 2021, it was reported that there has been an accumulation of 2,758,086 coronavirus cases along with 31,487 coronavirus deaths in Malaysia.[2] The situation was rather depressing, especially since COVID-19 cases had been increasing steeply in 2021. On August 26th of 2021, the coronavirus cases soared to a new daily high where there have been 24,599 recorded cases in the country. [3] Meanwhile, in comparison to August 2020, there has only been 5 to 30 cases per day.[4] The increase in figures is rather shocking and concerning. It was unexpected that a short span of one year could bring such radical change.

Moving on, in the same year, there had been discoveries of new coronavirus variants across the globe. Unexceptionally, some of these virus mutations had invaded Malaysia. For instance, on July 8, Sarawak (Kuching) reported the first COVID-19 case involving the delta variant. [5] Delta variant is said to be a highly-contagious variant compared to the original COVID-19 virus where it spreads much more rapidly. [6] The situation was further worsened by the invasion of the delta plus variant in November, which was brought by two students returning from the UK. [7] In December, the first case of Omicron coronavirus variant was detected [8] and this further implied a greater obstacle that must be overcome by citizens in the country.

In summary, it is uncertain as to when the pandemic will end and whether our lives can ever be ‘normal’ again. In this new year of 2022, hopefully, it implies that we are getting closer and closer to reaching the end. May there be light at the end of this dark tunnel.

2. Vaccination

The pandemic has undoubtedly placed the citizens of Malaysia in unpleasant and adverse situations. It not only goes against people’s desires, it also normalises confinement at home. Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccines had come to the rescue and had gradually mitigated the harshness of the impacts of the virus in Malaysia.

At the end of February 2021, our former Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) has become the very first person in Malaysia to receive the COVID-19 vaccine inoculation.[9] This signifies the beginning of vaccination rollout in the country as national campaigns were organised shortly after. [10] Vaccination jabs were firstly prioritised to high-risk individuals such as healthcare frontliners and senior members of the country according to the phases. [11] Adults (citizens over 18) were given vaccination shots starting from May 2021, and the rollout has been in a continuous mode ever since. [12]

Currently, 7 types of vaccines are approved for use in Malaysia, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac.[13] Starting from 22nd November 2021, COVID-19 booster jabs are available for those who are fully vaccinated according to the attached conditions. The booster jabs are jabs to further boost and strengthen Malaysian citizens’ immunity system. Amidst the pandemic, vaccines instil a ray of hope for individuals around the globe. In the new year, it is hoped that there can be greater breakthroughs in the scientific field and that stronger vaccines can ultimately be the cure to end this ongoing pandemic.

3. Olympics and Paralympics 2020

In retrospect, 2021 could have been a distressing year for Malaysian citizens due to the emergence of newer COVID-19 variants which placed citizens in constant uneasiness. Amidst this darkness, the pandemic did not kill the enthusiasm of citizens towards ongoing sports events. Particularly, both the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games that were held last year received enthusiastic responses.

As a result of the pandemic, both games were postponed in 2020 and were then successfully held in 2021.[14] Malaysian players had competed in both games held in Tokyo, Japan. As anticipated, players from Malaysia had earned magnificent triumph over sports events ranging from cycling to badminton.[15] For instance, in the Summer Paralympics game, Abdul Latif Romly who is the world record holder for the category of T20 long jump had once again achieved a win of victory where he had won the Men’s long jump T20 category.[16]

Both the Olympics and Paralympics Games are international worldwide sports events that promote inspirational visions and are in line with the motive to contribute to world peace. May aspiring young Malaysian sports players carry on cultivating their talents and in hopes for the visions to continually be empowered.

4. White Flag campaign (Bendera Putih)

The implementation of the Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO) is a measure taken to attempt to diminish COVID-19 clusters. Despite its effectiveness, the strict regulations in the lockdown had eventually affected the welfare of Malaysian citizens.

In the mid-year of 2021, the ‘Bendera Putih’ campaign was organised and it had drawn a great deal of attention on social media, such as on Twitter. Malaysian citizens who were struggling to put food on the table had been placing white flags outside their homes.[17] This signifies a plea for help where it was hoped that other Malaysians would offer help in areas such as providing food and necessities.[18] Donations were organised in the wake of the campaign where Malaysian citizens had helped to aid each other in such times of need.[19]

5. Malaysian floods

At the end of December of 2021, Malaysia had encountered a “once in a century” flood disaster which hit several states harshly. [20] According to our current prime minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri), flash floods that hit Selangor had occurred unexpectedly. [21] The sudden floods drove the residents in the area to a state of total chaos.

Meanwhile, in states such as Pahang and Kelantan, the disastrous floods hit them hard but there is the anticipation of floods considering the effects of the year-end monsoon season every year.[22] Nevertheless, the natural disaster has inevitably affected residents of the given states which resulted in the evacuation of many. At the beginning of 2022, the floods were still ongoing and had hit some other states like Melaka and Johor, where it consequently resulted in a soaring high number of flood victims in Malaysia.[23]


In retrospect, 2021 has not been an easy year. It was a year of turbulent challenges and obstacles. Despite all of this, Malaysians have made it through and that should be celebrated. Starting afresh or with a clean slate does not mean you forgot the hardships you have been through, it’s about remembering the lessons learnt while building the reliance to get back up after you have fallen.

Lexicon extends the greatest blessings to avid readers and may the new year invite the opportunity to start with a ‘clean slate’ for many.











[10] ibid.


[12] ibid.






[18] ibid.



[21] ibid.

[22] ibid.


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