KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Just like its political rivals Pakatan Harapan, MCA, which is part of the ruling government today urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to punish those in positions of power first for breaches of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
MCA spokesman Mike Chong Yew Chuan suggested that it would be shameful to claim that there will be “no double standards” by the government when it comes to enforcing rules to prevent Covid-19 from spreading, if federal ministers do not comply with these and escape punishment.
Chong today pleaded with politicians on both sides of the political divide to follow the SOPs to curb spread of Covid-19 like other fellow Malaysians, throughout the recovery movement control order (RMCO) period.
“Don’t think for a second that you are not susceptible to being infected. Don’t think that you won’t be the unfortunate one who gets infected.
“No matter whether you are a minister, YB, community leader, religious leader, the virus strikes indiscriminately, ignoring whatever social status, ranking, positions you may have,” he said in a statement today when addressing politicians.
Chong also pointed out that no one would be able to avoid being infected with Covid-19 by touting their position, adding: “One person can ruin it for everyone. Don’t wait until politicians become a despised group of people, being labelled with tags such as the ‘minister cluster’, ‘politician cluster’ and other insulting names.”
Chong also said that political leaders are supposed to strive to be role models for the public as their representatives.
“However, if the public is being fined RM1,000 just for slightly pulling down their masks for a moment, yet ministers are getting away with it for obviously flouting the SOPs, are we not ashamed when we make bold claims of ‘No Double Standards’?”
“How can we tell the rakyat to follow the SOPs when the politicians themselves do not follow?
“If abah wants to rotan the wrongdoers, start with those on top, and those at the bottom will follow willingly,” he added, alluding to a phrase that Muhyiddin had used yesterday.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin had, in a special address, said that the authorities would be taking action against those who fail to comply with rules and standard operating procedures on Covid-19, and had seemingly in jest apologised that he as “abah” — the Malay word for daddy — had to start using the rotan or cane on Malaysians.
Muhyiddin and his supporters have referred to him as abah since he took power, in a bid to cultivate a warm paternal personality with the public.
Muhyiddin’s remarks did not go down well with members of the public, including Opposition MPs who urged him to punish his own Cabinet members first and said that such a joke was distasteful amid the public’s worries and news yesterday of a one-year-old baby dying of Covid-19.
In their criticism, Pakatan Harapan politicians also highlighted the case of Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
In July, Khairuddin was in Parliament within a matter of days after his return from a Turkey trip, instead of undergoing quarantine for the 14-day period that everyone was required to carry out. While he has since paid the RM1,000 fine, there was a public uproar as heavier penalties have been meted out to others. The police are investigating the issue with investigation papers currently with the Attorney General’s Chambers, a report today said.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin said that seven other ministers and six deputy ministers are currently also undergoing quarantine at home and said they would not be exempted for action if they fail to comply with rules as there would be no double standards applied.
Muhyiddin and members of his Cabinet had gone into quarantine — due to end on October 16 — after minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad tested positive for Covid-19 on October 5.