COMMENT | “Just Stay At Home”. This composed statement was uttered by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on March 16 when he announced the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), imposing drastic measures with the clear purpose of curbing the spread of Covid-19.
All activities should come to a halt for 14 days, except those of the essential businesses and organisations.
However, the MCO kicked off in a seemingly inauspicious start as many people were still loitering around oblivious to the MCO sanctions. Social distancing fell on deaf ears.
As a result, police and soldiers were deployed to man the street to stop such unhealthy behaviours.
Halfway through, on March 25, Muhyiddin announced that the MCO will be extended to April 14, sending an unmistakably clear message to all Malaysians that the Covid-19 situation is indeed very serious.
Looking back, on March 18, the day of implementation of the MCO, Malaysia recorded its first two deaths due to Covid-19. The following day, on March 19, there were 110 new cases making a total of 900.
Yesterday, the death toll has increased to 19 with a total of 1,796 cases.
The number of people infected by Covid-19 has increased rather rapidly, above a hundred cases every day.
Although we have not reached the helpless situation like in Italy where more than 6,000 deaths have thus far been recorded, we can only hope we would never head towards that direction.
Unlike China, Korea and Japan, which imposed extremely aggressive measures in tracing people infected by Covid-19, we comparatively lack such high efficiency.
The few hundred Rohingya/Myanmar immigrants who had attended the recent tabligh gathering at a Sri Petaling mosque still could not be traced for screening. This is worrying indeed.
The Covid-19 pandemic has since been declared by the World Health Organisation as the common enemy of mankind. As such, Malaysians should stand up in solidarity and fight it.
While Muhyiddin and his new government immediately threw in all efforts to arrest and ameliorate the situation, some people were quick to launch attacks and question the validity of this government, calling it the backdoor government.
Such attacks are deviously dishonest and self-contradictory.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the one who openly lured MPs from all parties (irrespective of their political background) to join him in forming a new government. If he had succeeded, his new government would not be the one the people "voted" in 2018. The DAP, on the other hand, went back and forth supporting either Mahathir or Anwar Ibrahim.
After not being able to go on board Muhyiddin's train and left in the lurch, only then DAP became the loudest voice in criticising the so-called backdoor government. It's clearly bad taste politics.
In addition, Mahathir was the one who childishly resigned as the prime minister which immediately opened the door for the other MPs out there to grab it. If Mahathir had been chosen again to lead a new government, that would definitely be a backdoor government.
No one, including Mahathir, PKR, DAP, or Amanah, can question the irrefutable fact that Muhyiddin was appointed and sworn in as the new premier strictly in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
It is crystal clear that the backdoor government attacks do not hold water.
At this crucial juncture, when the whole nation is bracing against the Covid-19 catastrophe, we cannot afford to waste time and energy in political bickering. It can cost the loss of countless precious lives.
In solidarity, we save lives and the nation. God save Malaysia.
CHAN TSE YUEN is the chairperson of Humanity Organisation of Malaysia and author of the book "The One Who Fools the People Wins the World".
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
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