To make matters worse

We are all in the pandemic together and it is our responsibility to highlight these matters, without fear or favour

Pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

I DO not know whether those who walk the corridors of power realise this, but public anger and frustration over Covid-19 regulations are intensifying every day.

To make matters worse, the perception of double standards in favour of the elites remains unabated, especially after several individuals continued to show blatant disregard for Covid standard operating procedures (SOPs).

It is never a good look when politicians, businessmen and even social media influencers are seen travelling across the country, or abroad, while others couldn’t even bid loved ones goodbye, unless they produce a death certificate.

If the administration feels that this exasperation is only confined within social media chatter, grouses can also be heard from various sectors, individuals, corporations and foreign investors — be it behind closed doors or not.

What frustrates them the most is that nobody seems able to provide clearer direction or instructions on what needs to be done, even after 15 months of facing this pandemic. What went wrong?

The saving grace would be the vaccination programme, largely said to be our only clear hope to save lives and livelihoods. However, this has been marred with controversies, from a foreign article report to rumours of queue-jumping.

But giving credit where it is due: The AstraZeneca volunteer vaccination programme has managed to improve the perception of Covid-19 vaccines as a whole, despite a loud but small number of sceptics. Today, people who volunteered for AstraZeneca will be getting their jabs — and that is a good news for ordinary citizens.

Now, the nation waits for June when the vaccine rollout programme is slated to be in full force, and hopefully, 80% of the population can be inoculated by year-end, per schedule.

The lack of check and balance — especially on the issue of the National Trust Fund — heightens the public anxiety over Malaysia’s fiscal position. Had the government announced or clarified early about this matter, it can be argued that this whole issue would not receive the public’s backlash.

Alas, here we are.

Currently, talks on the impending Movement Control Order (MCO) in the middle of the Emergency will raise more questions among the public. Hopefully, the government is well-prepared with answers to allay concerns.

As the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day on Monday, perhaps everyone should be reminded that the media would continue to carry its duty as the fourth estate, to be the voice of the people and to inform objectively.

Some of the public grouses and issues may not be music to anyone’s ear, but that is the reality of what is happening on the ground.

We are all in the pandemic together and it is our responsibility to highlight these matters, without fear or favour.


Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.