Blaming Malaysians is not good Covid-19 strategy

·3-min read

MAY 12 — As we go into the third nationwide movement control order (MCO), there is a tiresome, repetitive narrative being repeated especially at higher levels: if only Malaysians would be more compliant, this wouldn't be happening.

It is far too easy to blame Malaysians by placing the burden of containing Covid-19 on their shoulders.

In pandemic times and economic uncertainty, Malaysians are looking for leadership and take cues from the government.

How do you expect Malaysians to behave when given conflicting messages and bad examples?

Politics is not more important

The recent vaccine rollout as well as the constantly changing SOPs has also brought to light the lack of communication and co-operation between those in government.

Partisanship shouldn't be hampering pandemic efforts and it is clear, as the old saying goes, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

The whole state of Emergency was supposedly to prevent political struggles from interfering with Covid-19 action but all it seems to be doing is giving our politicians a nice long paid holiday from Parliament.

If Parliament is suspended, I say suspend the wages of sitting ministers then especially if they spend more time going overseas to volunteer as janitorial staff than their actual jobs.

How can we persuade local employers to facilitate work-from-home arrangements when they see our ministers going overseas for meetings that could just be held on Zoom?

Do not as we do

It is mind boggling, the sheer amount of wastage being spent on unnecessary travel during a pandemic not to mention a certain minister's daughter was caught boasting on Facebook about being allowed (along with her siblings) to go overseas to attend a convocation.

The rules are strict on what justifies overseas trips with many foreign spouses being trapped outside Malaysia, unable to reunite with their Malaysian spouses.

I did not know that attending a convocation was deemed an important enough reason to waive strict exit and entry rules.

Bad enough that politicians are given special dispensation to cross borders whenever they like ― that dispensation is not one that should apply to immediate family.

We did not elect the children of politicians along with their parents to office so they do not deserve any special rights or favours.

Gross inefficiency

It is unacceptable that at the time of announcing any Covid measures that FAQs and prepared SOPs are not available.

Miti only saying its SOPs will be available “later” after an announcement is ridiculous.

Police personnel inspect vehicles at a roadblock along Jambatan Merdeka, at the Kedah-Penang border  May 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Police personnel inspect vehicles at a roadblock along Jambatan Merdeka, at the Kedah-Penang border May 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

It is our third MCO and still our various government bodies cannot co-ordinate well enough so that everyone can have their questions answered and the directives made clear right after an announcement.

You cannot keep blaming the rakyat when they are constantly in a state of uncertainty ― never knowing when their businesses will be forced to close, their children kept from school or if they will get vaccinated quickly enough before the next virus mutation.

Indonesia has already exhorted its citizens to learn from our bad example, putting us alongside India as a case of bad Covid-19 handling.

The only people who need to face the blame and shoulder the responsibility for the current state of affairs are the people in government, and maybe, for once, they need to start acknowledging that.

Remember, it's rakyat jaga rakyat (people caring for the people) and not rakyat jaga air muka pentadbiran (people saving face for the government).

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

Related Articles UK economy in recovery mode before Covid-19 lockdown easing Individual who broke road barrier cones in Taiping identified by police Russia has vaccinated 14 million against Covid, deputy PM says