The heading of a Malaysiakini report yesterday, “Heli lands at Padang Ipoh ‘without clearance’ to pick up food for KL customer”, and its contents reflect the many ills that have afflicted our nation as a whole and in particular, its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also reflects the serious disconnect between the haves and have nots; the rich and the poor; the affluent and impoverished; and the moneyed and the moneyless.
But what transpired in Ipoh yesterday does not justify nor validate the broad divide between the two.
It would have certainly been permissible in an emergency or when it is a matter of life and death. But it is an unequivocal “no” when it comes to satisfying the hunger pangs and cravings of a few.
To dismiss it as a spur of the moment would be a fallacy. What can be gleaned from news reports was that the operation was planned, prepared and executed to the T.
The food was pre-ordered and pre-paid – the restaurant was told to prepare 36 packets of rice, chicken, salted egg and beef. And it was then delivered to the door of the helicopter.
It was not just a case of one rich (and perhaps famous) satisfying the cravings for his or her favourite meal. Neither was it a case of thrift and paying little for good and tasty food.
On the contrary, it was extravagance – forking out RM10,000 in transport charges (to charter the helicopter) to pick up packets of food from Ipoh and deliver them to a designated drop point.
It was not just a case of displaying opulence. Neither was it lunch for a high-powered meeting of the board of directors and aides.
It was arrogance personified and defiance of laws, rules and regulations. It was showing scant regard for procedures that are in place to restrict the movement of people and stop the spread of Covid-19.
It cannot be said that it was a dare or a game of “catch me if you can”. The success of the operation must have prompted the organiser to pump fists in the air and thump the chest to be able to pull off an audacious task and in the process taunt authority.
There is no funny side to this and no one will find it amusing. The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said the helicopter was only cleared for landing at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. Was it then a diversion of the flight plan which was submitted before take-off?
Perak police chief Mior Faridalatrash Wahid was quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying the helicopter landed between 9.55am and 10.15am and that it did not have permission to land on Padang Ipoh.
Let them eat cake
We are not pontificating on how those endowed with an enormous amount of wealth should spend their money and neither are we specifying how they should flaunt their wealth.
But with the country ravaged by a pandemic that has caused more than 7,000 deaths and total Covid-19 cases nearing the million mark, it would be a gross understatement to state it was wrong timing.
At a time when white flags are being raised by the poor and needy, such a show of extravagance cannot even be seen as a futile and fruitless effort to lend credence to the prime minister’s claim that the “kitchens are full of supplies”.
But sarcasm aside, this whole shindig has left a bitter taste in the mouths of most Malaysians. At a time when even a kilo of rice is beyond many, such a display of supposed height of enrichment and total abuse of wealth can be nauseating.
When one is fined RM5,000 for going to buy groceries from Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, across the road to Kampung Kayu Ara in Petaling Jaya – a distance of 4km – what else can be said of an hour’s helicopter ride to Perak to pick up packed meals?
The transgressions by VVIPs including ministers have been pooh-poohed with paltry fines, but what is an RM2,000 fine to one whose superior food delivery service by air cost five times more than that?
PM’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ will always be full
‘Malaysia can go to the doldrums for all the PM cares.’
RedWolf4463: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and the hospital clothes he wore during his visit to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) in Klang, Selangor depicts the state of the nation and its leadership – a very sick one.
Maybe the prime minister and the rest of his overpaid and under-worked cabinet should go to the ground regularly as a part of their job and things will improve drastically, if only for a moment. All the shortages will be overcome and people will wake up from their slumber, at least for a while.
And of course, his kitchen cabinet will always be stocked with supplies and they will be ‘well-fed’ to keep the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government going.
OCT: The first order of the PN government is to portray the prime minister as a caring statesperson even though in reality it is the reverse. Muhyiddin is not the only PM that has been at fault and he won’t be the last.
Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak also did the same. When the 1MDB scandal broke out, BN portrayed him as the best PM. The PM does no wrong. The PM is a good man. The PM is caring. Who cares what the rakyat may think or if the rakyat suffer?
And the PM’s top priority is to ensure his MPs support his position no matter what it takes, even if it’s to the extent of promoting a senior minister to the deputy prime minister position even after he failed his duties.
The PM offers things that his loyal followers cannot refuse and his opponents cannot match. That is his only job. Malaysia can go to the doldrums for all the PM cares.
Once in a while, the PM does some public relations. That roughly sums up the PM’s vision for a successful Malaysia.
Clever Voter: Muhyiddin is not alone. Such a scene reflects the culture and ugly side of the patronage system in Malaysia.
A VVIP visit has to have protocols, it has to be ceremonial in nature, there should be no controversy, and even not a speck of dust is to be seen.
The country is living in denial. Muhyiddin knows the problems ahead of him, and he too has an agenda to ensure his political support is assured at all times.
He may be changing his emperor’s clothes, but whether they fit him, he does not need to know. Because it all has been taken care of.
The priority is to ensure there is a feel-good thing. And this is the reason why we are in such a mess.
Anon 93751028: Who will be the brave small boy (or perhaps a girl) to speak up and shout “But the Emperor has no clothes!”
We are all already “giggling” at his stupidity behind his back (not my words, he said we can call him that). But he needs to hear the words directly to his face, in public, before he will hear and understand.
Doc: There is a slight variation between the fable ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and the story of ‘The Clueless Malaysia PM’.
In the above story, the emperor was duped into wearing the fine invisible fabric due to his stupidity and his ministers and advisers were too aware that the emperor was duped but they were scared to point out that the emperor is naked.
In the Malaysian context; Muhyiddin is nothing short of idiotic but his ministers and advisers are equally idiotic in their own right. Thus, everyone in the PN government is an imbecile, not only the emperor or in this case the PM.
Maya: Very true. We are living in a fool’s world. It has come to a stage where we do not want to hear him. From the time he said Abah will rotan us if we break the standard operating procedure (SOP), the whole cabinet has been full of deadwood. Nothing can and will change them.
Sadly, the people are speechless, unable to do anything, while the pandemic is used to play politics till kingdom comes.
JazliSalleh: Sorry, but I honestly feel we have yet to see a Malay leader since Tunku Abdul Rahman’s era who is committed to serving the nation and the rakyat, irrespective of race or religion.
The subsequent ones after that era have all been opportunists who didn’t mind tearing the nation into bits as long as they were able to amass wealth for themselves, their families, and their cronies.
Things have only become worse with this Malay-only government concept with more of the same clones. We have yet to see a true Malay leader who is committed to the betterment of the nation.
It is indeed sad to see the nation slowly sinking with wrongdoers constantly celebrated.
IndigoJaguar7545: Insecure egotistical men have been the downfall of many nations.
Parliament closed for over six months. Mass allegations of MP buying and bribes. Spike in suicides. A horrifying kleptocrat back in government.
All this amid a ton of scandals committed against the poor. Still, ministers claim we’re not a failed state.
I can guarantee not a single one of these ministers have stayed at least a few weeks in any B20 community. They can hardly communicate with any Orang Asli and they have conveniently ignored decades of democratic destruction.
The people who will save Malaysia are not the ministers, but us. We are the people we’ve been waiting for.