In this pandemic, rakyat and PN have been acting irresponsibly - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, May 24, 2021
Malaysiakini : "(Politicians) told me to loosen roadblocks and asked why I tightened them. If they are loosened again, the (Covid-19) clusters would increase." – Former inspector-general of police Abdul Hamid Bador
| Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s appeal to
Malaysians to “self-lockdown” is a sad attempt to rally an apathetic
public enabled by an incompetent political system. And by the political
system, I mean Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Pakatan Harapan.
reality is that much of the damage this pandemic has wrought has been
brought upon by the current government, individual state governments but
most importantly, by a public who has no problem using the incompetence
of the political system with their inconsistent rules to flaunt public
When the rakyat sees political operatives
breaking SOPs, or when the government rolls back on restrictions, it
makes the pandemic less serious and it becomes a partisan issue, rather
than a health emergency.
is a strong mistrust for what the government is doing and the
statements and strategy coming out from the occupants of Putrajaya do
nothing to allay those fears and mistrust.
Take the issue of
testing. Earlier on when we had this under control, the Health Ministry
director-general claimed that the system is under such a burden and
that the ministry has decided to scale down on testing. This was in January of this year.
then, not only have the numbers gone up because of the ineptitude of
Putrajaya, but also because the rakyat decided that they had enough of
this pandemic and they were enabled by the lax enforcement of the state
security apparatus and a political class, to busy engaging in internal
Political operatives like to say that this is a
war and one of the most important aspects of any war, especially one
waged in the homeland, is an informed public that supports the war
effort and which has the self-discipline to mitigate the damage brought
upon by the enemy.
So far what the Malaysian public has
demonstrated is that they are willing to use the incompetence of the
government to their “advantage” when flouting movement restrictions
orders or SOPs, secure in the knowledge that often their conduct would
be politicised, hence the blame falls squarely back on the federal
Meanwhile, the PN regime in attempting to balance the
economy and public safety – which are not mutually exclusive – is
attempting to find a middle ground in a health conflict that often
demands decisive action, which oftentimes means drastic actions.
a simple issue like roadblocks, for instance. The former IGP – whose
quote opens this piece – publicly stated that enforcement of movement
control and the effects thereof were damaged by political interference.
of course when the politicians interfere with enforcement, and the
state security apparatus are lax in enforcement, the rakyat is going to
take advantage, thereby making the situation worse.
the rhetoric surrounding the emergency is another distraction. For
those who are used to operating in a feudal system after years of
political and social indoctrination, a decree by the king and the
non-existent difference between a lockdown and an emergency is not the
galvanising force some in Harapan think it is.
Do not get me
wrong, I am all for opening up the Parliament, but for the life of me, I
do not understand how wanting Parliament to open up to work with the PN
regime necessarily changes anything when Harapan political operatives
can, and should, work with the PN government now.
point of saying there would not be a vote of no confidence and only
“Covid-19 related issues", when you could do the same thing, now?
Harapan does comment about the pandemic, it is normally about how the
current government is mishandling it. What they should be doing is
hectoring the base that non-compliance with SOPS and movement,
regardless of consequence, is just as damaging to this country, or even
Instead of making a meal out of VIPs flouting SOPs,
political operatives should emphasise that personal responsibility, when
it comes to this pandemic, is an extremely important factor in winning
Take Selangor, for instance. On social media, we see all
these crowds and folks flouting SOPS, businesses not taking federal and
state government guidelines or diktats seriously, and we do not see the
political apparatus asking why there is such lax enforcement.
We do not see political operatives questioning how their control of the state is either mitigating or enabling the pandemic.
question I get from the people is not how the current government is
screwing up the handling of this pandemic. The question I get is why is
the public failing the test when it comes to this health crisis.
this pandemic has demonstrated is that the rakyat cannot rely on the
political system – but even worse, they cannot rely on each other.