Pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
WHERE are we after the first Movement Control Order (MCO)? It is disheartening that we are still talking and discussing actions that should have been taken in order to balance the needs of lives and livelihoods after a year.
I would be lying if I were to say that we should not be envious looking at other countries, which had it worse then, now starting to resume their lives like pre-pandemic.
In my humble opinion, the government and some people are focusing on the wrong direction. Students started to lose interest in study and many are left behind. Businesses suffering heavy losses started to close down and many workers are losing their jobs. In addition, the suicide rate is alarming.
Food packs, government grants, upskilling incentives, mobile banks and a few initiatives announced by the government are not long-term solutions.
It is akin to a band-aid to someone who has lost their toes.
This band-aid will never stop the bleeding. Simple question to the policymakers: We have seven recovery plans from Prihatin Rakyat to Pemulih (People’s Protection and Economic Recovery Package), can you give us data on the success rate that came from these plans?
What Malaysia needs is to control the pandemic in order to speed up the reopening of school, university, businesses, sectors and all industries, especially those that are heavily suffering. Close down all high-risk sectors and give cash assistance to the rakyat. Go to Parliament and increase the statutory debt limit to 70%, or even 100%. So what? Forget credit houses as our livelihood is much more important than our credit ratings.
We were able to see how the Health Ministry managed to control tabligh cluster drastically during the first MCO.
We can do this during total lockdown announced last month, but the biggest contributor of positive cases is still operating as usual, thus throwing this opportunity to the bin. If the number of cases reduces, we will allow the opening of the economy. But if the number suddenly increases, we will close down all economic activities.
There are too many uncertainties. The government can come up with 1001 recovery plans, but it will not solve these pandemic problems.
Dear government, we are trying to stay positive and stay afloat. But our surroundings and environment are very devastating. We are physically and mentally exhausted. Please hear our pleas.
- Izaan Jamil, Kota Kinabalu.
The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.