Unfortunately, somehow, it is always the people who will have to pay the price
pic by ARIF KARTONO
MANY months ago, when some people, or rather, critics questioned any decision or government policies, they would be told off by certain quarters to “not politicise the pandemic”.
Even though some of the concerns are not unfounded — such as the need to gather migrant workers in packed detention centres — they would be reminded to not discredit the government’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Do not threaten stability” would be the theme of the day, then.
After all, prior to March last year, Malaysia was in a terrible state that it needed to be saved from excessive politicking as some would have claimed.
So, for the sake of the nation, despite grouses and rising concerns on matters such as freedom of speech, the people remained obedient to any set of rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
For a while, it seemed like we had managed to flatten the curve, until it was apparent that some rules were applied differently to others.
By end-2020, the cases remained in four digits, but it was obvious that Malaysians were starting to get restless.
Some restrictions were relaxed too, including interstate travels. However, for some reasons, the people seemed a bit more relaxed amid rising cases, and who could blame them?
A recent article in The Guardian had an accurate description of the situation: “People started breaking Covid rules when they saw those with privilege ignore them.”
It has also been a while since we last heard the famous “let’s flatten the curve”. Gradually, there has been a shift in the tone of instruction for fellow citizens from the authorities.
“Wake up Malaysians” or “the war is not over” may have sounded better if the powers that be understood the people’s frustration when they saw some people were exempted from complying with the SOPs.
With one month to go for the first batch of vaccines to arrive here, at this rate, Malaysians really should be looking after themselves well. Hopefully, the spirit of “Kita Jaga Kita” still remains.
Speaking of politicking during a pandemic and worse, during floods in several states, one cannot help but notice how Umno’s actions of late reeked of arrogance, desperation and ignorance.
Once a proponent of “unity” and “political stability”, Umno’s conference over the weekend showed us otherwise.
It is now an open season attack against Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and indirectly on the Perikatan Nasional government.
Who would have thought that after being a part of the ruling government (despite their loss in the 14th General Election), Umno remained consistent in calling for another general election, simply because it cannot afford or just refused to be second fiddle anymore.
It is not surprising how Umno could be so blatant and gung ho to discredit its partners, not only Bersatu but PAS too.
It has always been the one that governs, not to be governed. The party is confident of winning alone in the next polls, and undoubtedly based on its election machinery, Umno is the most experienced than other political parties combined.
But the question is, why now? Did the party miss the King’s decree on preserving the nation’s stability?
Is our fight with Covid over? How unpopular is Umno willing to prove its point?
Maybe, tonight’s Supreme Council meeting will give us the answers. Or maybe, just like what happened in the past, recent events were just another theatrics to threaten the government.
However, if there are lessons to be learned here, it is: You reap what you sow. Unfortunately, somehow, it is always the people who will have to pay the price.
Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.