Aspirasi Keluarga vs Delta/Omicron

So is there one rule for the government and another for the people? It sure seems like it

The prime minister and his government recently had this marvellous idea of celebrating “100 Days Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia” (100 days of the Malaysian family aspirations) for four days from 9am – 10pm at the KLCC Convention Centre.

The idea was to enable the people to learn what each ministry does or (does not do!).

Visitors could get information about each ministry, and senior officers would be at their booths to explain and hopefully, listen to the people’s complaints, if any? I wonder if anybody had the temerity to make any complaint.

Oh yes, the people could review the key performance indexes (KPI) for each ministry and track their progress, too. That should have been something to check out, shouldn’t it?

It would be amusing to check if the Ministry of Education did anything about the abuse cases in their vocational schools?

What about the sports ministry? Did they look into the sexual harassment allegations made by Malaysian Olympian Pandelela Rinong? So far, nothing much has appeared in the local media – so have they all been swept under the carpet?

What about the Ministry of Health? What was the prime minister thinking of when he okayed this event? It would be great to know what rating Ismail Sabri Yaakob awarded himself and his department!

So, this was the premise behind this grand four-day event. It raises the question: what amazing feats did this government do in these 100 days to warrant this event?

From the photos in the media, people were up close and personal, practically cheek by jowl! Nobody cared about physical distancing, and everybody seemed to have forgotten the pandemic. 

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So, it would only be correct for the people to call out those in government on how irresponsible they were to have held this event and to ask why the Malaysian government practises such double standards. 

This brings to mind the heap of trouble UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government are grappling with. Information has emerged that gatherings were held at 10 Downing Street when the country was under strict lockdown. At least one official, the PM’s former spokeswoman, Allegra Stratton, has resigned as a government advisor over this issue. 

So is there one rule for the government and another for the people? It sure seems like it. Despite the chaos at the ‘Aspirasi’ event, the Ministry of Health informed the organisers they would be fined a measly RM1,000 for not following Covid protocols. 

What about the MoH itself? Shouldn’t this ministry be admonished and fined for allowing such a gathering? Why has the health minister blamed the organisers for being unable to stem that crowd?

There was no way the organisers’ staff could have stopped the hordes of people that came. It looked like ‘open season’ for another virus attack.

The health minister and his ministry plus the government should be fined a whole lot more than a mere RM1,000. But then, unless individual ministers and officers pay the fines personally, it would be a mockery as the ministry would effectively be using public money to pay the fines.

We all know that the Omicron virus has already arrived in the country.  The MoH of health is also urging the people to get their booster shots. Perhaps that should be emphasised – but it does not mean that the people are safe just because they have had the booster shot.

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According to one news report, BioNTech and Pfizer claim three shots of their Covid vaccine were able to neutralise the new Omicron variant in a laboratory test and could be key to preventing infections from the newly identified variant.

The two companies added that two doses of their vaccine resulted in significantly lower neutralising antibodies but could still be protective against severe disease. So, apparently, the booster would be effective for those who already had the first two shots of the companies.

So what about those thousands of people in Malaysia who have had two shots of Sinovac? According to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the efficacy of Sinovac vaccines wanes after a few months.

Some have decided to pay to get the Sinovac booster. How safe are these people? What about those who received two Sinovac shots and have now taken Pfizer? How safe are they from being infected by the Omicron variant? Any answers or clarifications from the MoH?

Even though the Covid numbers in Malaysia are down to around 4,000 – 5,000 new cases daily, praises are rolling in from several doctors, including the Malaysian Medical Association president and a former deputy health minister.  

I wonder what they would think if the numbers rise again after the latest 100 days Aspirasi gathering. Faced with this possibility, what will happen to Thaipusam 2022, which the Hindus will want to celebrate?

Will the festivities have to be postponed like what is happening in Scotland, where people have been asked to ‘defer’ their Christmas gatherings because of Omicron?

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So many questions. Let’s hope there will be some answers soon!

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

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