WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER – PART II

We are all in the same storm, but as I read today, we are not in the same boat! A few weeks ago I wrote the first part, entitled “We Are All In This Together”. In that post, I talked about taking responsibility for the posts we write. And how we must not allow ourselves to be a conduit for racial and religious bigotry.

I was meant to write this second part within that week. I was thinking of making an excuse as to why I’ve been tardy, but the truth is, it is what it is. However, I believe that actually, perhaps it’s timely that I am writing this now. A friend showed me today, why my title had to change. And maybe that’s why I had to wait.

We may just be coming out of MCO, and while part of me is feeling the adrenaline rush of anticipation that we are on the mend, I can’t help my feeling of trepidation, and no, it’s not excitement. It is an unadulterated fear. My fear stems from a knowledge that as a people, Malaysians are generally not an extremely responsible lot.

Here are some reasons for this observation: There will be immediately, on an announcement of a lifting of the MCO, an exodus of homeward bound people, with no Moses to lead them into a promised land. Instead it will be thousands of Covid zombies, many who won’t even know they are carriers, wandering around and straight into a wasteland.

And until and unless all highways, back roads, and dirt tracks are manned by the police and army personnel and closed, prior to relaxing the MCO, this exodus is going to become a nightmare. In fact, this clamp down should have already started. Because, I believe, with Ramadan, just a couple of days away, some will be sneaking home already.

I know how everyone feels though. I have so much compassion for my Muslim friends this Ramadan. It was tough on Christians going through Lent without the services at Church. It was challenging not to be able to spend Holy Week with family and abstinence during Lent took on a whole new meaning.

It’s going to be harder on fasting Muslims. But I believe it will also be the most rewarding experience. If you will allow it. However, if we are brutally honest about who we really are, as Malaysians, there will still be buka puasa clandestine gatherings and birthdays and other celebrations occurring in little pockets without social distancing being in place.

We have already seen how the law can be flouted… it already has been, even before the MCO has been lifted. And the culprits are those who should know better. “Kepimpinan melalui teladan” is just a buzz expression. Some of those now governing us believe that the restrictions of the MCO are not meant for them.

They have flouted the MCO and the police are nonplussed or intimidated or just plain helpless in the wake of their arrogance. Who do we, the man in the street, look up to for guidance, when they are showing such poor leadership?

At a time, when we should be tightening our belts and worrying how to feed our hardcore poor, and making sure we do not have another cluster of new patients popping up, our politicians are putting our country on the world map for all the wrong reasons.

One minister, instead of focusing on women and children and domestic abuse, sacked a gentleman, who was doing a great job in her ministry, and then created instant infamy by suggesting that women tart themselves up while working from home, dress up as if they were at the office, and talk sweetly in a Doraemon voice to appease their men at home.

Even Trevor Noah, stopped insulting Trump for a tad to give her special mention. Oh Lordy, save us from the acquiescent and submissive wife. Then there is Dato’ Dr. Noraini calling for Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to be included in Malaysia Cabinet line-up. Why? And the PAS president dictating that only Muslim Bumiputras should govern Sarawak.

That’s not all. There’s that two-step, hustle, or line dance which I believe used to be Dr. Mahathir’s forte, that caused the Heineken and Carlsberg debacle. Again, why? At a time like this to be calling for a ban on all liquor licenses and shooting themselves in the foot when the country needs the revenue so acutely, borders on the ridiculous.

No, actually, it borders on the sublimely stupid. And while we do know that we have to appease that PAS chappie, do we really need a Special Envoy to the Middle East, and now China? What has happened to our Ambassadors? Have they become persona non grata overnight?

However, I believe that perhaps the worst thing that has happened, has been the de facto law minister, announcing that all ministers of the PN government, will be made heads of GLCs, which are supposed to be business entities and not political parties. So, I must admit, I’m afraid for this country.

Not only have we to be afraid of Covid-19 still getting the better of us, where on earth are we heading to, politically? So, while we can no longer use the expression, “let your vote be counted”, what are we going to do? Willy-nilly we have had a new government forced upon us. The sanction for this Government came from the top.

We, the hapless voters, are going to have to sit on the sidelines while we cool our heels. And our opposition is beginning to look dubious, if there is even one at all. Usually, it is during a war that we get to separate the wheat from the chaff. Like the proverbial chaff, we have seen a lot of them blowing in the wind, as some of our ministers try to make themselves heard, warm water health minister and 500 countries deputy minister spring to mind.

As much as they have failed us, the good news is that we have found a saviour in our Director General of Health, Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham bin Abdullah. He has been our rock, calming us and keeping his daily reports brief, honest and clear. And had the exodus home, at the beginning of MCO, not happened, we might have been out of the woods by now.

Or not. Anyway, it’s now time to decide what’s next for us. What happens when we get out of Covid jail? Parliament will have to sit. They cannot hold off from a sitting any longer. Are we going to allow this government to continue? Have they done right by us? What do we want? Are we pushing for elections?

Or have you all forgotten that we once went to the polls and fought for change? And won, and that we can do this together, again. Or have you decided to accept the way things are, the status quo? Has a fear of the Coronavirus numbed our minds? A few weeks ago, someone asked me what has happened to MAJU. They are still here.

MAJU is still committed to becoming the third wave. Their manifesto has not changed. Neither have their strategies. As soon as this MCO is lifted, they will continue their road shows. But there can be no real change until MAJU has the numbers, and we are a force to reckon with. We need to be ready. We have been waiting around for 36 days.

Have you guys found the people you want to lead you? Some good people have come to the forefront. Have you guys stopped enrolling people to join MAJU? If you have, why? We can only effect change if we have the numbers. MAJU is about uniting Malaysians for our own civil liberties. It needs the right-minded people to band together in mind and in body.

The work will continue towards that and FOCUSED. We will come through this. We are already winning the battle against the virus. Now we have to continue the fight for our country. And what that means is that we need to gather our wits about us. Our economy has taken a bashing. For many businesses, things will never be the same. Some may never recover. Some of us may have to start over. At least let’s come back fighting. It’s time.

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