By Mariam Mokhtar
Yesterday's live telecast by Muhyiddin Yassin was a disappointment because he managed to talk a lot, without saying anything of substance.
The rakyat is aware of the real reasons for the spike in coronavirus cases and it is disingenuous of Muhyiddin to blame illegal migrants from a neighboring country. He said very little about the role played by politicians in causing the spike.
Muhyiddin joked about caning those who flouted the law, so why does he not start with his ministers who broke the law? This is not the time, to be childish and facetious about a serious matter.
Muhyiddin's telecast was a futile exercise in damage control. There is a connection between the spike and the actions of irresponsible politicians. I am sure he sees it, too.
If Muhyiddin did not engineer the Sheraton and Musa Aman Moves, the spike may not have happened. Few people give enough credit to the former Health Minister, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad for his role and preventive measures, which the Director-General of the Ministry of Health, has continued.
Last March, Muhyiddin claimed in another telecast, that he did not want the post of prime minister and he only wanted to save Malaysia from crisis.
Politics is not just about politicians and policies. It is also about integrity and responsibility. If Muhyiddin is sincere about "saving" Malaysia, he should punish ministers who failed to comply with the coronavirus quarantine order.
The Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Khairuddin Aman Razali, flouted the strict Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for coronavirus and did not undergo self-quarantine upon his return from Turkey, in July.
Instead of swift action, the authorities treated Khairuddin's case like a game of football. His case was kicked from the Health Ministry, to parliament, to the police, to the Attorney-General's Chambers, then the ball landed back at Bukit Aman, for further investigation.
Khairuddin broke the law, but he has not been punished. The government is afraid to punish him because if he is fined RM2,000 or imprisoned, or both, it is alleged that he will be disqualified as an MP and probably precipitate the fall of Muhyiddin and PN, which has only a slim majority.
Perhaps, Khairuddin's investigation was strung out because the government thinks the rakyat may forget. We won't!
The majority of the rakyat has followed the advice of the Director-General of Health, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, but many politicians were too arrogant to listen.
Members of the rakyat who flouted the laws, have been arrested, dragged to court, fined, and some were jailed; but many politicians were allowed to escape scot-free, until the public reacted with outrage and demanded action. The authorities tend to close one eye, or close both eyes when politicians act irresponsibly.
The rakyat is also furious that Muhyiddin's administration released confusing mixed messages.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the head of the National Security Council, said that the coronavirus situation was under control. Naturally, he would say that to allow politicians from west Malaysia to travel freely to Sabah, to campaign.
Those who returned from Sabah were not required to undergo 14-days of self-quarantine. Muhyiddin's administration panicked and finally reacted when Sabah returnees caused spikes to emerge in schools and other locations in semenanjung.
Many newspaper and social media photos have shown political gatherings in Sabah, where social distancing was not observed.
Incredibly, some ministers started to blame the rakyat for the spike in cases. The Health Minister, Dr Adham Baba, claimed that the rakyat had been complacent. Perhaps, he is not aware of the Khairuddin case? A leader should lead by example and not flout the rules. Perhaps, Adham has not seen the Sabah campaign photos?
Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the Perak menteri besar, warned the rakyat not to blame ministers for the spike in coronavirus cases. Why should anyone believe Ahmad Faizal? In the past, he has said one thing, but done another. He lacks credibility. He is someone who probably preaches, "Do as I tell you, not what I do." He is also guilty of double standards. Trust him to defend errant ministers.
The police are afraid to take action because they fear politicians. The result is that the spread of coronavirus will be difficult to control, because the rakyat perceives double standards.
The Ministry of Health should arrange a special course for ministers, political leaders, politicians, their cybertroopers and aides, because they are too stubborn, daft and irresponsible to understand the dangers and risk of contracting coronavirus.
As a result of the economic downturn from the coronavirus, ordinary members of the rakyat risk being laid-off, but politicians still cling to their ministerial positions, their high salaries and perks. How fair is that?
There are two laws in Malaysia; one for ministers, and another for the rakyat. The attitude of politicians and ministers makes us disrespect and distrust hem.
Is it any wonder that banners cropped up at various locations in Ipoh, saying, "Minister jaga poket, rakyat jaga rakyat." (Ministers look after their pockets, the rakyat look out for one another).
Don't blame the rakyat!
1. YouTube: LIVE: Perutusan Khas Situasi Semasa Covid-19 oleh Perdana Menteri Muhyiddin Yassin
2. MalaysiaKini: 7 ministers under quarantine, PM says no double standards
3. Astro Awani: Zahid Hamidi apologizes following spike in COVID-19 cases after Sabah PRN
4. Malay Mail: As Covid-19 cases spike, health minister says public too complacent now
5. Berita Harian: Jangan hanya tuding jari kepada ahli politik - MB Perak
6. Free Malaysia Today: Cops probe 2 'insulting' banners on Covid-19 put up in Ipoh
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)