Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Covid-19 and politicians who make you sicker

Covid-19 and politicians who make you sicker

by Joe Samad

There’s no better description of Malaysia today than to say we are the “sick man of Asia”. Sick, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, sicker because our politicians make us sick.

Everybody knows that the science to keep the pandemic under control lies in vaccination, social tracing, social distancing and what not. We are bombarded with these messages on TV, radio and any convincing media available. But the reality is different.

Billions have already been allocated to the vaccination programme but we still hear a lot of complaints that those who registered as far back as February have still yet to get their appointment.

At the rate we are going, we will never reach the 4,000 case target to enter the second phase of the lockdown, and Muhyiddin Yassin will become the longest prime minister in office, beating Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s record.

Someone joked that the fastest way to bring down the numbers is to take Selangor out of Malaysia.

Even though we know how to keep the numbers down and know the drill by heart, some ministers have reportedly continued to violate SOPs.

The rule for breaking the law, when applied to ministers and VIPS, seems to be different from that for ordinary folks. VIPs are referred to the Attorney-General’s Office while ordinary folks earning RM1,500 per month are fined RM1,000 on the spot.

The latest news is of economics minister Mustapa Mohamed being investigated for eating at a coffee shop while on a constituency visit to Kelantan. Mustapa said he wanted to see how a cafe owner managed to maintain his business despite the most recent movement control order. But you know the rule, you are not allowed to eat in a restaurant premises.

In a previous case it was reported that five diners and the owner of an eatery were fined for violating the SOPs during the total lockdown. The authorities said without compromise, the compounds were issued against all of them amounting to RM20,000.

The authorities said such inspections will continue nationwide at all times and action will be taken against anyone who violates the SOPs to ensure that we can successfully break the Covid-19 chain.

There were also the cases of deputy health minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak state executive councillor Razman Zakaria being fined RM1,000 each, for having a meal together with a group, while former Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a Facebook post that he had paid the RM3,000 compound for violating the SOP in March for eating at a chicken rice shop.

These examples show that even ministers and VIPs find it hard to keep social interaction in check. The same for ordinary folks. For the ministers and VIPs, it’s not a problem to pay a hefty fine, but for ordinary folks earning a few thousand a month, it has a devastating effect on family life and welfare.

Keeping people locked up and throwing the keys away is not the solution. You can’t overcome a pandemic by just citing a magic number of 4,000 to keep the Parliament shut down and the government in power while ministers violate the SOPs and are allowed to go abroad.

The most important task for the economics minister is to keep the economy going despite the difficult challenges and not just by eating in coffeeshops and trying out the dishes.

Does it make sense that shops selling handphones and spectacles in shopping areas are allowed to open, but not shops selling furniture to ease one’s comfort and back pain? The furniture shop is probably safer as they operate in bigger and more airy premises.

The minister should understand that our lives now revolve around the TV and computer screens and chairs are as important as our eyes.

Everybody is exposed when going out and when you interact with another person. Opticians have to get close up to check your eyes and the danger of exposure is higher than other trades.

Selective targeting, allowing one outlet to open and closing another, doesn’t make sense, as these simple examples show.

The government must also pay attention to mental health which is causing depression and higher suicide rates. These matters are being overlooked and not much attention is being paid to them.

If the government wants to keep the numbers down, the formula is still vaccination to build herd immunity, with strict enforcement of SOPs for everybody, including ministers and VIPs.

The government can’t keep itself in power forever by setting the magic number of 4,000 which we know will not be achieved, when everything is not in place. People are well read on the pandemic situation and are wondering as to why Malaysia is doing worse than other countries despite having better medical care facilities.

1 comment:

  1. Manyak Darjat. Olang biasa gaji rendah lupa scan kena denda 10k. Jibby olang kaya kena denda 3k sahaja, dapat diskaun, dan masih jadi MP. Apa Macam?

    Man fined RM10,000 for not registering details when visiting restaurant
    Friday, 12 Mar 2021

    KUALA LUMPUR: The individual who was issued with a RM10,000 compound for violating the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP), did not register his details at the restaurant he went to.

    A report has gone viral showing the compound for an individual who failed to scan the MySejahtera application at a restaurant in Bukit Jalil on Thursday (March 11).

    Subsequently, many on social media had claimed that the man had actually registered his details using other means.

    Cheras OCPD Asst Comm Mohamed Mokhsein Mohamed Zon said the compliance operation task force performed an inspection at a restaurant in Bukit Jalil at 6.55pm on Thursday.

    “The task force has issued a compound on an individual for not scanning the MySejahtera app or registered his details manually on the registration book prepared.

    “A compound of RM10,000 was issued on those who violated the SOP in accordance to the Emergency Ordinance, ” he said when contacted on Friday (March 12).