What can we do for the country…

With more and more news about the homeless and jobless surfacing, the question we should be asking is, who is the MCO really testing?

Pic By ARIF KARTONO

THE latest RM250 billion economic stimulus package, which was announced by the prime minister on March 27, received some criticisms from those who are on the more fortunate side of the society.

Successful entrepreneurs rant on social media about how the poor will end up rich after the Movement Control Order (MCO) while business owners may go bankrupt.

Such a prognosis is true. Businesses all over the world are hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many will not even survive, including in Malaysia. But questioning the aids allocated to the poor is all but outright mindless.

While businesses will have time to think of contingency plans or device changes to their models and some of the owners have ample money parked elsewhere, there are people who have been suffering before the Covid-19 pandemic and life today has been more treacherous with the MCO.

While the less fortunate need the stimulus package to survive during this difficult period, the privileged few are asking for more so they can maintain their lifestyle.

One entrepreneur had the audacity to say that “they (the B40 and M40) should be thankful for what they are getting”.

With more and more news about the homeless and jobless surfacing, the question that we, who are comfortable at home with food on the table, should be asking is, who is the MCO really testing? The poor — who barely have enough to eat — or us, who have enough to share?

We can do so much to help without having to get off the sofa. There are many groups and individuals who are out looking for the underserved to distribute food and other basic needs like baby diapers and personal hygiene care. These noble gestures cost money.

Knowing that not everybody is willing to go out and risk their health, these people have reached out and welcomed those who want to make donations.

Last week, the government had asked these non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and soup kitchens to stop doing their handouts, to minimise movement. However, they are still welcoming donations as contributions can be passed to the Social Welfare Department, which will then distribute them to those in need.

The NGOs can even give the Social Welfare Department a list of names or places that they intend those contributions to be given to, lest there are people who have gone unnoticed by the government.

If we want to really play a part in fighting Covid-19, we can donate to the medical frontliners.

The Health Ministry has officially launched a bank account where donations are used to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for the doctors and ventilators for critical patients. Fashion designers and seamstresses are coming together to sew PPE suits, while volunteer groups need more money to make plastic face shields, boot covers and robes for hospitals around the country.

The whole world is at war. Now, more than ever, is the time to ask what we can do for the country and not what the country can do for us.

  • Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor at The Malaysian Reserve.