We can’t just shrug it off. Again.

If politicians do not put aside their hullabaloo, we might see more of our own people resorting to suicide or even an armed revolution


MALAYSIANS are a forgiving lot. Our level of patience is admirable. And when things get tough, we cope with our sense of humour.

When the pandemic broke, we all obeyed the stay-at-home order. There was panic buying at first in many parts of the country, but nothing untoward happened, unlike in some countries where war broke over toilet papers.

Instead, we amused ourselves over the fact that the Gardenia shelves were wiped clean.

Despite having our movements largely restricted, which includes not seeing our loved ones during festive seasons and prohibited from jogging outside alone, we managed to cheer ourselves up by focusing on old hobbies and finding new ones, like experimenting with new recipes.

The surge of Covid-19 cases has brought most parts of the country back into CMCO, just when we thought we were about to regain our ‘freedom’ – pic by ARIF KARTONO

Adults and children struggled, but we made working from home and online schooling work.

Unsung heroes from among ordinary Malaysians found their way to the less privileged to make sure nobody starved.

And thanks to our patience, obedience and perseverance, we managed to flatten the coronavirus curve.

The months of hard work went out the window, though, because some power-hungry men decided that politics must take precedence over all else.

As a result, from only one new Covid-19 case on July 1, Malaysia recorded 1,755 new cases on Nov 6.

This surge of Covid-19 cases brought most parts of the country back into the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), just when we thought we were about to regain our “freedom”, while businesses were still barely recovering.

Although not at fault, Malaysians were ready to comply with the order despite the vague and indecisive standard operating procedures (SOPs).

For instance, it was earlier announced that only two were allowed per table at restaurants, and the next thing you know, it was four.

Then we were required to get police permits to travel, but the police also seemed unsure about the procedure. While exercising at parks is permitted, some parks have remained closed. Those are just a few examples from a too-long list.

The ordinary Malaysians, while trying their best and thinking that they are in fact complying with the rules, are being fined for allegedly flouting the SOPs.

A few months ago, a young man was fined RM1,000 for briefly pulling his face mask below his nose, perhaps for a breather after standing for a long time at a stuffy place.

And recently, a man was fined the same amount for not registering himself via the MySejahtera app at a petrol pump.

China Press reported that Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department deputy director DCP Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said people were required to register with the MySejahtera app even if they did not enter the station’s convenience store.

This, however, was later denied by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who clarified that fuelling at pump stations using a card or online application does not require one to register through MySejahtera.

And then, there came Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s request to declare an emergency over the rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

Malaysians, even those who had once called him “Abah”, were not buying it. They joined his critics in calling it an attempt to save his place in the premier seat. With jobs and more lives lost and freedom taken away from them, voters have had enough of the country’s politics and politicians.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, over six million people or 1.14 million water account holders in the Klang Valley were once again hit by another water disruption when Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd terminated work of the Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant due to the smell of solvent pollution at Sungai Selangor.

It was the ninth water disruption in the state for the year, and fourth within three months.

Many took out their frustration on Air Selangor’s Facebook page.

Faza Dila “congratulated” them for allowing this to happen again, especially when most people were at home due to the CMCO, and while many Hindu friends were preparing for the upcoming Deepavali celebrations.

Hamiraj Fahry Abdul Hamid said: “How many times more do we have to go through unscheduled water disruptions, especially during the CMCO period?”

Amardeep Tiwana questioned how Air Selangor was not able to detect a rise in contamination level until it reached eight tonnes.

“Where are the quality control and checks? Clearly Air Selangor has no process in place to prevent this from happening every month. Why does this not happen to other states?” he said.

Vance Khaw said although water issues occur every month, as far as consumers are concerned, nothing has changed, while Facebook user Renaura Razenan called for the resignation of Air Selangor’s management.

“It is obvious that you and your team are incapable of doing your job properly and with care. So, please do the honourable thing and resign,” she wrote.

Others, meanwhile, commented with dry humour and sarcasm. One Mohd Russdy Shahril jokingly asked the Selangor Mentri Besar to do a live streaming of himself sniffing the sample of the polluted water.

“Guys, do not be angry. It is in their KPI (key performance indicator) to have water disruptions every month,” Wan Nur Syafiq posted.

Even when it was announced that the water supply was expected to be restored in stages beginning 3pm yesterday, people were cynical in their responses, asking when they could expect the next water disruption to happen.

What we are seeing is Malaysians venting their anger online or shrugging off their frustrations after learning that their grouses, amid a pandemic and movement restriction orders, are not going to get solved anytime soon.

But for how long? As it is, Malaysia is also seeing a rise in suicide and near-suicide cases during the pandemic.

The National Fire and Rescue Department responded to 88 suicide cases, with 78 people rescued, seven injured and three fatalities recorded between March and July this year.

Befrienders Malaysia received about 4,142 calls between March 18 and May 16 during the MCO period, where over a third of the calls on Covid-19 were suicidal in nature, while government hotlines received 11,791 calls from March 25 until August, where each caller had an average of three issues that required emotional support and counselling for stress, anxiety and despair.

If politicians do not put aside their hullabaloo, we might see more of our own people resorting to suicide, riot or even an armed revolution.

They cannot expect Malaysians to shrug things off forever.

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