Stop the politicking; work together

We are, as a nation, facing the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced. Thousands are sick, many are dying. The need for unity, at least unity of purpose, has never been greater. 

Yet we see our politicians playing the usual political games. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is quietly finding ways to punish Pakatan Harapan (PH) by withholding allocations for opposition MPs while dishing out extra funds for his own members.

PH is also playing politics by needlessly warning about food riots and the possibility that supply chain disruptions might lead to starvation. The anxiety level is already high and people are worried. Such talk is both alarmist and unhelpful. 

What the people expect of their elected representatives, particularly at a time like this, is that they will all put aside their differences and work together to protect and help the people.

We need to be bringing together our brightest and best – politicians, economists, financial experts, healthcare professionals, NGOs and representatives of other sectors – to craft the right strategy to respond to the needs of all Malaysians affected by the economic fallout from the crisis.

We have many smart and outstanding people; we need to exploit their talents and experience. The politicians must recognize their own limitations and understand they cannot do this alone.

Everyone talks about how adversely affected the B40 group and refugees and migrant workers are as a result of the movement control order but precious little is being done to actually help them. NGOs are doing what they can but it is not going to be enough. The government needs to respond immediately.

Over the last few days the media has carried reports of vegetables from Cameron Highlands and other parts of the country rotting because produce cannot be transported to consumers. Fishermen too are having to dump their catch because of similar problems. It is a disgrace that precious food is going to waste at a time when we need to conserve food.

The army with all its manpower, logistics and equipment should step in to help farmers and fishermen get their produce to consumers. Certainly, it will be more useful than manning roadblocks which the police are more than capable of doing on their own.

Clearly, there are lots of things – big and small – that can make a huge difference to all the people affected by the pandemic. Our healthcare workers show us what’s possible when there’s teamwork and dedication. So please, stop the politicking and get to work to serve the people of Malaysia.

[Dennis Ignatius |Kuala Lumpur |27th March]

Published by Dennis Ignatius

Passionate Malaysian | Former Ambassador and career diplomat | Political affairs columnist | Human rights and international affairs commentator

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