Duds, duffers & doraemons

Did you catch our newly minted finance minister, the one with the reputation of being a financial whizz-kid, on Astro Awani recently? If you did, you would, no doubt, have been surprised by how little he seemed to know about the details of the much-touted stimulus package. He couldn’t even adequately explain where all the money for the RM20 billion financial rescue package was going to come from. 

With people like that in charge of the finance ministry, how to have confidence that the economy is in good hands?

And then we have the minister of Women, Family and Community Development advising work-at-home mothers to always look neat, adopt a Doraemon-like tone, giggle coyly and refrain from nagging husbands who shirk their household responsibility. She even put out an official circular to the effect replete with the government crest!

What sort of a minister would deign to give such asinine advice to women at any time, leave alone at a time of crisis like this? Plainly, her ideas about the role of women are hopelessly stuck in the middle ages. Now, thanks to her, the whole world is giggling at Malaysia.

After taking a well-deserved drubbing from incensed Malaysians, the minister quickly retreated leaving her ministry to apologise for the snafu. Whatever happen to ministerial responsibility?

Her deputy was no better. While thousands of airline employees are facing job losses and pay cuts due to the pandemic, she was fussing about the “sexy” uniforms of air stewardesses. The superficiality of some of these ministers and deputy ministers is simply mindboggling.

In the meantime, the housing and local government minister dons full protective gear to go on a walkabout to supervise city hall workers disinfecting parts of the city. As is usual with such ministerial outings, the minister is accompanied by a retinue of followers.

And, just in case anyone failed to recognize her in her ghostbusters outfit, she had the word “MINISTER” prominently displayed on her helmet. What arrogance!

What was the object of the whole meaningless exercise anyway? What was she trying to prove? And are our workers so dumb that it takes a full cabinet minister, hose in hand, to show them how to disinfect a place?

And why is she wasting much-needed protective gear for such a trivial purpose when our doctors and nurses, those on the frontlines in the fight to contain the pandemic, have to make do with garbage bags and other improvised kits due to a shortage of proper protective gear? 

The best thing she can do for her country right now is to just stay home; after all, she has already done us all a great disservice by conspiring to bring down the government we elected. 

They say that a crisis brings out the best in a nation. We’ve seen that in our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and police who have risen to the occasion with courage and determination. Even the food delivery riders deserve our respect. 

Unfortunately, it also brings out the worst as well; when they happen to also hold senior positions in government, it is no April fool’s joke. What an embarrassment the whole lot of them are.

[Dennis Ignatius |Kuala Lumpur |1st April 2020]

Published by Dennis Ignatius

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

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