More than a pandemic that plagues Malaysia

It is worsened in a climate where systems, capabilities and values have been compromised

TUMISU/PIXABAY

If we the people were to grade our politicians, what would the report card show? A big Fail, of course.

Politicians from all sides of the divide are running our country aground when we should have been the gold standard in the region given our inherent wealth and development over past decades. But in the space of a year of grappling with a pandemic, the nation is buckling.

None of the politicians has showed convincing leadership qualities to unite the people across ethnic, religious, social and economic barriers. None has consistently brought hope to the nation, which is sinking amid political plots and counterplots.

Certain politicians squandered away the people’s victory in ousting a regime mired in corruption. They abandoned a manifesto that was meant to take the nation to the next level. And now, Covid-19 has worsened their failing grades.

The backdoor government keeps failing unendingly, unable to save a nation battered by political enmity and amateurish policies. With corruption lingering, how can we give the politicians even a D grade?

If we ever unearth the vast wealth that politicians and their proxies have been stashing away – their vast mansions, luxury yachts, lucrative contracts and shares, would we not give them a fail grade? When hope in our politicians is dashed and governance eroded, the report card for our politicians would show a big, red ‘F’.

Their political defenders would surely counter by pointing to all the gleaming glass and mortar as evidence of our politicians’ greatness.

But after almost a year of this pandemic, many are already on their knees, suffering from economic, financial and healthcare paralysis. Why?

More MPs succumb to Covid

While netizens acknowledge that the virus does not recognise status and roles, they have also shared cynical concerns over social media over the rising number of MPs affected by Covid.

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While we pray for the affected MPs’ safe recovery, we can also make some observations. Why do some politicians defy recommended precautions and even insist on holding press conferences, knowing too well the inherent risks? Why are more MPS being affected?

Is this indicative of a more sinister reality, namely that while policymakers and leaders call on the people to abide by precautions, our MPs may be compromising the very rules they preach?

Already, many among the public believe the Sabah election was an irresponsible act by politicians lacking in foresight and concern for the people.

As we keep counting the number of MPs falling victim to Covid, some may conclude that their desperation for power is putting them at high risk.

Perhaps journalists must stop giving coverage to those who are bent on taking such health risks, in the process endangering them and their security and administrative personnel who need to tail them.

Don’t blame it all on Covid

Meanwhile, politicians, government and businesses seem to lump all the blame on the coronavirus.

The economy is suffering because of the lockdowns and cosmetic lockdowns deemed necessary to battle the spread of the coronavirus. More people are succumbing as the coronavirus mutates and becomes more virulent.

But do we conveniently blame all else on the deadly coronavirus and hide behind the pandemic?

There are underlying truths about why our economy has been badly hit and why the livelihoods of so many are being battered each day. There may also be a hidden truth behind the reasons why our healthcare facilities and frontline health staff are reaching breaking point. There could be other real causes why the coronavirus is re-surging all too soon.

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But we don’t seem to care. Even the government, which was not elected in a democratic vote as demanded by the Constitution, is not prepared to admit why the nation is buckling.

Which country hires migrant labour by the millions – both legal and undocumented – to drive their economies? But then we blame helpless foreign workers for the cluster breakouts.

Corruption seems to have become an accepted way of life in Malaysia, and that is the root cause why we are suffocating under this pandemic and seem lost in battling it.

While we can find reasonable fault with the coronavirus, let us not dismiss the greed, rent-seeking, profiteering ways we have nurtured in past decades.

All our gleaming glass and mortar that made the elitist millionaires cannot withstand the fallout from the pandemic.

From the human bondage of migrant workers to price hikes to littering without a care to the self-denials – you name it, we have it.

The bottom line is that, over the decades, we have compromised so much to the extent that kangaroo and horse meat was sold as halal beef and mutton for years before the scam surfaced. God knows what else has been dumped into our kitchens.

The immune system of Malaysians may also be at a low point after decades of unhealthy eating, which makes us more vulnerable.

So, we are unable to cushion the effects of the pandemic effectively because it spreads in a climate where systems, capabilities and values have been compromised. That has been due to our collective sins of commission, omission and indifference. Thick carpets of deceit, threats and denials have always swept these sins away.

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Let us not conveniently absolve ourselves from the real causes of why the pandemic has put us under such a stranglehold so easily, in so short a time.

Will we change? Hopefully, our self-inflicted predicament will remind those nations in the region that are now surpassing us to remain vigilant.

Is Malaysia ready for the new world?

As the pandemic threatens to rewrite the architecture of nationhood around the globe, Malaysian leaders must address the realities of our time.

The current model of globalisation is unlikely to lead us to real progress. What we have held on to these past six decades is expiring. What Malaysia has been pursuing since the era of the Mahathirism era is fast fading.

We must realise the urgency of choosing the right model based on shared values. But what are our shared values as a nation? We need to decide which model we should adopt to progress.

If we continue to push the racial and religious agendas into higher gear, we may end up isolated as such values are disappearing in the new world.

Our politicians must stop petty politicking. They must offer solutions as we move away from the old model and usher in a new world where nations converge along common values and adopt mutually agreed models that allow them to progress.  

In this new world, geography will become irrelevant. Economic strength is not the yardstick. Instead, establishing noble values and aligning them with the most suitable model of governance will determine the future of Malaysia.

Which path will our politicians take?

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