Is Najib, guilty of all 7 charges, going to pay for their Covid-19 screening tests and medical expenses?
pic by AFP
WE MADE fun of people in the US, Britain, Germany, Australia, Brazil and so on, who gathered in large crowds for protests or demonstrations, ignoring social distancing and face masks.
We even called them stupid for not taking the global pandemic seriously, when as of yesterday, there have been 663,540 deaths all over the world.
On Tuesday, however, Malaysia did just that, about 1,000 gathered at the High Court to show undivided support for former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, who was there to hear the verdict on his SRC International Sdn Bhd graft case.
Although most were seen wearing face masks, none observed social distancing. Even more alarming was that many among the supporters were the elderly, a high-risk group for Covid-19 infection.
Malaysians had, as a whole, been admirably consistent with following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) throughout the many phases of the Movement Control Order (MCO). Just by doing so, we managed to bring new daily cases to single digits which even earned us international recognition.
We praised Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah for taking the reins in the fight against the virus, we thanked him for tirelessly keeping us updated on the latest developments, we celebrated his accolades, we called him a hero.
But apparently, he was just talking until he was blue in the face when due to loyalty for one person whose fate we did not know, Dr Noor Hisham’s daily reminder to abide by the SOPs went down the gutters.
“Get ready for a new cluster!” netizens said jokingly, but not without seriousness in the warning. They already prepared names for this potential new cluster. There were options of “The High Court Cluster”, “Najib Cluster”, “Jibby Cluster” and “Bossku Cluster”, among others.
The Health DG was clearly disappointed and saddened by this behaviour. “It is sad to see the lack of self-control in this situation,” he said on Twitter.
Further encouraging the supporters was the presence of other politicians, including Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan, Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, former Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, and Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi.
Did they not remember how all of us suffered during the MCO? Businesses shuttered, salaries cut, jobs lost, the poor starved and only a family representative was allowed to go out to buy necessities, while the rest “imprisoned” at home, and policemen and soldiers barred the roads like a scene from a George Orwell novel.
Had they forgotten how thankful they were of the sacrifices made by the frontliners? Some even died while doing so. All that will be in vain if new clusters keep emerging and we have to go back to where we started.
And if (touch wood) new transmissions had taken place during this mass gathering of supporters, was it worth it?
Is Najib, guilty of all seven charges, going to pay for their Covid19 screening tests and medical expenses? Will he pay for their fines for breaching the SOPs? He has a 12-year jail sentence and his own RM210 million fine to worry about.
To those loyal supporters, who braved the weather and possibly the virus, be prepared because the police are now identifying members of the gathering through CCTV (closed-circuit television) footages. There are also many other images on news and social media platforms if they need the extra resources.
Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor at The Malaysian Reserve.