Ministers chuckle while tempers flare and a virus rages

Our ministers (literally) laugh as the nation is plunged into chaos and confusion.

Nathaniel Tan, The Star

IT seems that Senior Minister (Security) Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob finds the predicament of thousands of Malaysians who were confused by unclear and contradictory conditional movement control order (MCO) rules to literally be a laughing matter.

(It appears he has reversed an earlier position on the matter.)

I guess he’ll be joining Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who is probably laughing at the fact that he got off scot free – and furthermore, even managed to get the Health director-general to “blame” Khairuddin’s entire quarantine saga on the frontliners who put their lives at risk every day working at our airports.

Khairuddin’s case is particularly inflammatory, given how so many ordinary Malaysians have been punished for breaking the same rules that he himself broke.

It appears the authorities have no qualms whatsoever demonstrating one fact time after time after time throughout this pandemic: there is one set of laws for the powerful, and another set of laws for the powerless.

As one of our politicians likes to say, this is not the rule of law, but the law of the jungle.

In both cases, once again, the people at the bottom are the ones being blamed.

Khairuddin’s case was classified as “no further action” because a Health Ministry official – one who presumably works at the airport, performing his or her duty for the nation at great risk to personal health and safety – supposedly failed to issue the minister a particular form.

The rest of Malaysia is supposed to believe that this therefore absolves a minister – one of the highest leaders of our country, and one most expected to lead by example – from punishment that would have befallen anyone else.

Politicians caused the collapse of the Sabah state government, politicians necessitated state-wide elections in Sabah, bringing the Covid-19 pandemic to critical levels in Sabah, and politicians literally brought the virus back to the peninsula; and yet, it is politicians who are given a free pass and an escape from punishment when they break the rules – rules that the rest of us are expected to follow, or face fines and imprisonment?

In Ismail’s case, after he chuckled at our predicament in front of his bizarre menagerie of shelf collectibles that changes every single press conference, he basically said it was we, normal Malaysians, who were to blame for being impatient – implying that we were being completely unreasonable for being anxious about the lack of clarity in the conditional MCO rules.

He further implied that it was completely normal for a government to make a “general announcement” first, followed by specifics to be filled in by another ministry, announced perhaps mere hours before they were supposed to come into effect.

According to Ismail, we were the ones who were being unreasonable for wanting to have a clear picture right away.

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