Hundreds of Muslims, mostly migrant workers and refugees, had formed a huge crowd outside a “surau” in Taman Pelangi, Juru, Bukit Mertajam, on Tuesday morning (July 20). While there’s nothing wrong with holding Aidiladha prayers, there were two issues with the event. First, they were doing it on a road in the housing area. Second, the country is under lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Penang police chief, Commissioner Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, apologised for failing to stop the mass gathering. The police chief also revealed that the surau management had chosen to refrain from alerting police to avoid stirring any religion-biased issues. But even if the police had been alerted, would they dare to disrupt fellow Muslims in the middle of performing their prayers?
So far, 49 suspects (48 Bangladeshis and one local) out of over 200 people have been detained for 3 days. Why not detain all the 200 violators? If not for a video of the gathering that went viral on social media, the foreigners would not be detained, let alone an apology from the police. Will there be any arrest at all if those who breached the SOP are local Muslims?
Try getting 200 non-Muslims to pray on the street next to a temple and see if only 49 suspects will be arrested. Like it or not, the country is incredibly screwed up due to more than 60 years of racism, which eventually turned to extremism. Politicians, especially during Mahathir administration (from 1981 to 2003), have been playing the race and religion cards to stay in power.
Now, the chicken has come home to roost. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the failure of Muhyiddin in containing the Coronavirus pandemic has everything to do with racism and extremism. Mr Mahiaddin alias Muhyiddin is a well-known racist who considered himself a “Malay first”, instead of Malaysian first. Can you imagine Donald Trump publicly call himself a White first?
For example, the government knew that the opening of Ramadan bazaars was a disastrous decision. It was absolutely not necessary. Yet, in order to pacify the Malay community, who were very angry because such tradition had been banned last year in addition to Muhyiddin’s economic mismanagement, the weak administration had agreed with the mega markets.
On April 15, just two days after the beginning of the fasting month, a total of 904 Covid-19 positive cases was already reported, traceable to visits to Ramadan bazaars. Stunningly, to make up for interstate travel restriction during the Ramadan, Senior Minister “turtle egg” Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that bazaars nationwide – numbering 1,073 in total – were allowed to operate until 2am.
As if Ramadan bazaars were not enough to infect and kill people, who happened to affect mostly the ethnic Malay, the clueless and incompetent government poured more fuel to the fire by extending the bazaars’ operating hour with the intention to make the community even more happier. With 2,000 daily Covid cases at that time, it was both a political and a racist decision.
In contrast, during the Chinese New Year, the government announced that only those from the same household were allowed to have reunion dinners together, as if they had been eating alone at different corners of the house all year long. Even family members who lived in different units in the same apartment were not allowed to gather for the traditional reunion dinners.
Of course, the Chinese New Year did not create a single cluster, but the same cannot be said about the Hari Raya Aidilfitri, The racist policy saw 200,000 people managed to evade the police roadblocks to return to their home towns for Hari Raya celebrations. Amusingly, “turtle egg” Sabri, who is also the defence minister, claimed he had no idea how it happened.
It appears even the God was no interested to help the so-called Malay-Muslim Perikatan Nasional government. If the leaders of UMNO, Bersatu and PAS, the three main component parties forming the backdoor government, were good Muslims, they would not have closed one eye and allowed the pandemic deteriorates with racist and half-baked policies to suit their selfish agenda.
Only after the PPR housing flats were seriously infected with Covid that the authorities deployed barbed wire and placed it under EMCO. PPR Desa Rejang in Setapak, for example, had 300 positive cases and 7 deaths in a short period of June 1-17 before the EMCO was enforced. By then, the virus had already spread beyond control, contributing to the endless number of daily infections.
This may be a sensitive issue, but till today, there are many Malays who still refuse to mask up because they believe as long as they pray, they are protected. In fact, they believe the mosque is immune to Coronavirus. It didn’t help that so-called holy man like PAS president Hadi Awang rarely spoke about wearing masks or the vaccination programme.
To make matters worse, Hadi said early this month that the Covid-19 pandemic is a test from the God and only Allah can overcome the battle against the disease. Such extreme and radical view could dangerously promote complacency. It creates a false perception that it doesn’t matter whether the Muslims wear masks or not as it’s all about “God versus Covid-19”.
In the same breath, does that mean non-Muslim countries like Singapore, China and even the U.S. have received more blessing from the God than Malaysia since those “kafir” nations seem to have successfully defeated or suppressed the virus? It’s not rocket science that besides breeding racism and extremism, playing the race and religion cards also produce clueless and incompetent leaders.
One of the reasons Mahathir has been keeping very quiet lately is because he realized that if he continues to criticize Muhyiddin administration, it would eventually boomerang back to him. After all, almost all the MPs of his former Bersatu (PPBM) party are now part of the super bloated Cabinet of 72 ministers and deputy ministers. So, the failure of Muhyiddin is also the failure of Mahathir.
Muhyiddin’s mishandling of Covid-19 and mismanagement of the economy is the biggest proof that the past racist policies only produced leaders with “IQ of a carrot”. Worse, the country lacks top brains during a critical time because instead of recognizing meritocracy to produce talents, the racist government chose kakitocracy to nurture incompetent leaders – crooks, traitors, racists, extremists and whatnot.
When Mahiaddin proudly announced four days ago that 100% of the adult population will be vaccinated by October, he thought he could fix the problem, claim the victory and become a hero. Even if the target is achievable, which is not, the Covid cases will remain. It’s a wishful thinking to achieve 100% inoculation. In truth, there are millions of illegal or undocumented migrants and refugees.
Officially, there are about 3-million, or nearly 10% of the country’s population of 33 million, undocumented migrants account for 30%-50% of Covid-19 cases reported daily. Unofficially, however, it’s believed an estimated 4-million to 6-million migrants are roaming the country. And they certainly are not part of the 100% adult population to be vaccinated by October as trumpeted by Muhyiddin.
Again, it was the government’s racism and extremism policies to import migrants from Indonesia and Bangladesh, which contributed to the 200 stubborn Bangladeshis who prayed on the street in defiance of SOP. The threat of arrest also means the 3-million to 6-milion migrants and refugees will not step forward for vaccination. They are like walking zombies spreading Coronavirus.
And we have not even talked about the massive influx of Rohingyas welcomed into the country during Najib Razak administration backed by extremist Abdul Hadi Awang. For decades, the previous Barisan Nasional government preferred to chase the Malaysian Chinese and Indian talents out of the country and import low-skilled workers from Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Even when faced with the prospect of 1,000,000 Covid cases and 10,000 death toll, the government’s racist policies that gave birth to racist medical groups had proposed recently that recruitment of new medical graduates be reviewed to ensure that Bumiputera graduates could serve in permanent positions in the health ministry. The Chinese and Indian doctors can go fly kites.