Just let the police do their job as they see fit. ‘Tough love’ is perhaps what we need if we want to save more lives
THE Movement Control Order (MCO) is in its third week, yet there is still that 5% of the population who just could not help but do what they do best — defy orders just for the sake of being stubborn (if not selfish).
The number of people arrested for flouting the order so far is quite astounding. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob revealed that 554 offenders were arrested on Sunday alone.
Maybe the police and army personnel are not intimidating enough? One lady was charged in court for allegedly calling some policemen on duty “idiots” because she was not happy that the usual route to her apartment was blocked.
A young man shouted at the police after he was stopped at a checkpoint. He was hungry perhaps, which explained his impatience, as he “insisted” that the place he was heading to was his favourite eatery!
At another roadblock near Padang Jawa, quite a number of motorbikes were stopped and most of the riders were not wearing safety helmets. Worse, many did not carry their identity cards or driving licence.
It was rather amazing to see how patient some of the police officers were (the video went viral a week ago) as they explained to the offenders why they had to wear the helmet and mask if they were to go out during this period.
Now, imagine if this happened in other countries. A few days ago, a 63-year-old man was shot dead in the Philippines after threatening village officials and police with a scythe at a coronavirus checkpoint.
The man, who was believed to be drunk, threatened village officials and police who were manning the checkpoint in the town of Nasipit in the southern province of Agusan del Norte.
President Rodrigo Duterte had warned just the day before that he would order the police and the military to shoot anyone who created trouble.
“Follow the government at this time because it is critical that we have order,” he said in a televised national address.
“And do not harm the health workers, the doctors…because that is a serious crime. My orders to the police and the military, if anyone creates trouble and their lives are in danger: Shoot them dead.”
For the record, the Philippines’ main island of Luzon has been under a month-long lockdown since March 16.
The people are prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential trips to the grocery or the pharmacy, or if they are frontliners — much like what is being imposed in Malaysia.
Apparently, many provinces outside of Luzon have also imposed their own restrictions in a bid to prevent the virus from spreading.
A day after the incident in Nasipit, Duterte defended his warning against troublemakers in another address, saying the public needed to realise the gravity of the situation because anyone could contract the disease.
“Without these restrictions, this will not end,” he said.
“So if you don’t want to follow, then I will finish you to protect the lives of the innocent who don’t want to die.”
Maybe Malaysians are too soft? Ismail Sabri did promise that stricter regulations would be enforced during the second phase of the MCO which is expected to end on April 14, and the number of people who feel that they do not need to heed the call is rather astounding.
“The National Security Council has been asked to draft a new standard operating procedure for phase two of the MCO, where the rules and regulations are tighter and more stringent, that what is in place now. So maybe after this, there will be more restrictions imposed,” Ismail Sabri, who is also the defence minister, said over a week ago before the beginning of the second phase of the MCO.
Well, we might still not get the best result if we still have “other voices” that would deem the authorities being too harsh on the offenders, which would only place the police and armed forces in a tricky situation to do their job.
After all, can we last another month cooped up at home? Just let the police do their job as they see fit. “Tough love” is perhaps what we need if we want to save more lives. Just saying…
- Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor of The Malaysian Reserve.