The war against the Coronavirus is left entirely to Health Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, which is a good thing because in comparison to Health Minister Adham Baba, this Dr. Noor certainly looks like a genius. He talks about facts and figures and knows what he was talking about, unlike politicians who tried to look smart but ended up making a fool of themselves.
It also gives an impression that the country is being run by Dr. Noor, while the Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin went shopping – pretending to check whether supermarket was well stocked. He should visit stores like 99 Speedmart and not some luxury supermarket that sells overpriced products. Even some Aeon supermarkets were short of essential supplies like eggs, bread and canned food (sardines).
Including the prime minister, the bloated 70 ministries appear to be on holiday during the present lockdown. The country is essentially on autopilot while waiting for the Covid-19 to clear. But to create an impression that the backdoor government is not incompetent, they keep blowing their own trumpet about the number of arrests of those who flouted the movement control order (MCO).
While it’s good to punish the stubborn MCO defaulters just to send the message across, so far there isn’t any concrete proof to link those naughty people to an increase of Coronavirus cases or deaths as a result of the pathogen. What we hear instead is more cases of Covid-19 linked to the Tabligh cluster, which is spreading via its fourth or fifth generation.
Seven villages in Hulu Langat have been put under an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) from Monday (March 30) over 71 positive cases identified among 274 residents of a tahfiz madrassah school. Involving 3,918 residents and comprising 700 households, the enhanced lockdown affects five Malays-majority villages, and two Orang Asli (indigenous people) villages.
Menara City One building, located near Jalan Masjid India in Kuala Lumpur, has similarly been ordered to be locked down for 2 weeks after 17 Coronavirus cases reportedly originated from the condominium. Interestingly, most of the 3,200 residents were not locals but foreigners from Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh – suggesting some could have had attended the Tabligh religious gathering.
Call it whatever you like, but an enhanced movement control order is another nice word for an “emergency”. And you can bet your last dollar that there will be more villages or high-rise buildings to be slapped with a complete lockdown, where residents are not allowed to go out at all. In fact, the government has started to take away more freedom under the pretext of breaking the chain of infection.
The state of Selangor will increase the number of road closures in several areas in stages to so-called reduce crowd movement. That is as good as an admission that things have gotten worse and the authorities are quietly preparing for an emergency or an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) or whatever you like to call. They don’t have to do that if the outbreak is under control.
As the Phase-2 of the MCO is about to kick in on April 1, the incompetent backdoor government of Muhyiddin seems to be getting more desperate. Their incompetency has caught the attention of former deputy Health director-general Prof Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, who said he was perplexed to see a disinfection operation involving spraying onto road surfaces.
He said the authorities should instead disinfect frequent touch-points, such as doorknobs and lift buttons – “What are they doing? Who is advising them? It is truly a waste of money. How are the roads and road curbs being contaminated? Even if road surfaces are contaminated, how could they get to your face? By people scrubbing their hands on the contaminated road surfaces and touching their faces?”
But one of the silliest rules that has gotten social media excited is the “one person per car”, to be enforced from April 1 onwards. Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced – “As we have previously mentioned, for private vehicles, although they are allowed to go out to get food and essential supplies, the government has decided it would be one person in one car.”
The new rule will be on top of the shortened operation hours from 8am to 8pm daily for eateries, markets, petrol stations and even food delivery services that comes into effect on April 1. Taxis and e-hailing services can operate non-stop from 6am to 10pm while the operating hours for public transportation will remain 6am-10am and 5pm-10pm.
It didn’t cross the mind of Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also the country’s defense minister that he himself is being ferried around by his own driver. So what happen if the husband needs to drive his wife, who does not drive, to the train station to work? If the goal was to prevent the couple from infecting each other, don’t bother because they have been in the same bed for as long as one can remember.
It doesn’t make sense that a private vehicle cannot have more than one person, even from the same family members, because at the same time the same genius minister allows taxis and e-hailing services to operate. Will not there be minimum two persons in a taxi or a Grab car when you flag down one? Or is Muhyiddin government hallucinating that “driverless” cars are on the road already?
Obviously Senior Minister Ismail Sabri has lost touch with the common people. He probably thought people who flouted the MCO were the same people who wanted to do their grocery shopping as quickly as possible and returned home safely to avoid getting infected. He thought after most shops were closed in compliance of the lockdown, the shopping mall was still as entertaining as before.
Get real, the long queue of getting screened for temperature by supermarket personnel has made shopping a nightmare. The last thing the supermarket, or the incompetent Muhyiddin government for that matter, wants is for a clueless husband to start hunting for tampons or searching Google to ensure he was buying the correct fish as ordered by his wife.
It would create more traffic on the road to send a husband to do a wife’s job as the poor man would be made to go back to the supermarket because he had bought the wrong sauce. Ministers with the privileges of police escorts like Ismail Sabri and PM Muhyiddin Yassin did not have to suffer the inconvenience of finding a parking to buy necessities, or to send meals for aged parents living in congested housing estates.
Does the turtle egg minister expect a husband and wife to drive separate cars, even if the couple work together in the same company or building? Perhaps they should borrow a motorcycle or a bicycle so that both can ride together. Sure, the objective is to reduce human contacts, but the “one person per car” rule is overkill, so much so it becomes incredibly ridiculous.
If Muhyiddin government is so obsessed with lockdown or enhanced movement control order that it can no longer think rationally or logically, perhaps it should just declare an emergency nationwide and deploy the army and police to send daily essentials – free – to the 32-million populations. Then it would have no excuse to blame “two persons per car” as a contributor to Coronavirus cases.