FRANCIS PAUL SIAH
COMMENT While most of us are concentrating on how to get through this difficult time of the Covid-19 outbreak, and ensuring that we and our loved ones stay safe, it seems that politicians are still engaging in their favourite past-time – politicking.
What is most demoralising and sickening is that the top man in the country, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin himself, seems to be setting the worst example. He is still playing politics at this time of national and global crisis.
In my previous article here, I’ve said that this is not the time to write stinging political articles as politics of any kind must surely be furthest from our minds.
The recent politicking of the prime minister has forced my hand to pen this.
This is the time for national cooperation and togetherness where each and every one of us should be on the look-out for one another to ensure that we all get through this pandemic, hopefully unscathed.
Politically, this is also the time for national reconciliation and healing. Malaysians have no time for politics and want opposing politicians to work in unison and concentrate 100 percent of their time and energy on tackling the pandemic.
And what did our prime minister do? More than 1,000 Malaysians are Covid-19 positive with eight fatalities (as at 7pm on March 21) and Muhyiddin could still find the time to sack his Bersatu secretary-general.
What is this, Mr Prime Minister?
Don’t expect me to be nice and charitable with my words here; no, not with our so-called leaders who have their priorities all wrong.
Let me tell you this, dear Muhyiddin. At this time, no one bothers about Bersatu or politics. This is a crisis facing all of humanity, not just Malaysians, so please do your job and quit politicking.
Why? Are you more concerned about your political survival as Bersatu will be having its party elections next month and the secretary-general, who is not on your side, must be sacked?
This is all about you, yourself, Muhyiddin Yassin, isn’t it? What about Ahmad, Ah Seng and Muthu, fighting for their lives in the ICU?
Dear Muhyiddin, there are a million and one issues now which require your immediate attention since you are the prime minister.
You have to be on the pulse of the pandemic, every single detail of it, every single day. It is very important too for the government to instill confidence in the people that it is on top of this fight. Anything less will not do.
Here are examples of our concerns. Yes, we should all “stay at home” with the Movement Control Order (MCO) in place. But what about the homeless, those who have no place to go home to?
Isn’t this the perfect time to gather real data of Malaysians who are homeless? With the Army out to assist the police, ostensibly to chase people home, what about conducting a census of the homeless, along the way? The homeless are still loitering on the streets; they have no choice. Are their lives not worth saving too? We want to know.
Then, what help can we offer those from the B40 group and the daily wage earners? They still need to feed their children. What about the stranded university students too who can’t make it home? Is the government helping them out? We want to know.
It has been reported that one million Malaysians may be jobless after this is over. When this will be over is still clouded in uncertainty. What are your plans to tackle this, Muhyiddin? We would like to know too.
And what about getting enough Covid-19 test kits urgently? There are not enough. Many with cough and flu have been merely treated for the common cold or sore throat because not enough testing kits are available. So far, we haven’t heard of any resolution to this issue.
Why is the price of face masks suddenly triple? Who allowed such a hike to take advantage of the situation, causing more difficulty and pain to a suffering citizenry? We want to know too.
Then, what about the welfare of our good medical staff who are the first responders and front-liners? Already, 24 of them had contracted the virus and two are in ICU, fighting for their lives?
So far, we have not heard much on these scores from the authorities, except from one dumb ‘warm water’ health minister, whose only public advice this past week is exactly what it was – dumb! It was so dumb that I don’t even bother to know the name of this so-called health minister.
But I must salute Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who must surely be working overtime now, for his daily updates on the outbreak. Well done, Dr Noor and staff at the ministry and in our hospitals and health centres.
There are many, many more concerns and questions which demand answers. The list is simply too long to pen here.
My main point is: Stop politicking, Muhyiddin and get down to do some serious work. Show some leadership and shoulder real responsibility, for a change. Malaysia could not afford a mediocre prime minister at this time.
Also tell your cabinet members to stop playing politics too.
According to Anwar Ibrahim, your Home Affairs Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin, was among Perikatan Nasional leaders who have been busy trying to woo PKR lawmakers instead of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Are your ministers following the bad example you have set, Muhyiddin?
Did you realise that it was a slap on your face as the prime minister when the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had to go live on national television on March 20 to advise Malaysians what to do during the CMO period? Clearly, this was the job of the prime minister, not the king.
This pandemic is real serious, it is a matter of life and death. We are at war with a virus.
During this unprecedented crisis, Malaysia needs an extraordinary leader with the energy, zeal, determination and resolve, not an ordinary, mediocre one.
Seriously. I have my doubts that Muhyiddin is the right man to lead the nation through this pandemic.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at email@example.com.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.