PETALING JAYA, May 17 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s inner circles have reportedly warned him and several Cabinet ministers on rising public discontent, with the need for better communication to reverse rising tension amongst the population with the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Free Malaysia Today, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia insiders said the current government has failed to communicate effectively with the people by relying on dry data instead of real happenings of those suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There were some hard truths the prime minister needed to know. We have passed the message. If they do not take heed, the government may not be able to fight the anger,” one source was quoted as saying.
Another party source was also quoted as saying the prime minister’s team had been informed of genuine anger about the double standards practised by the government.
“More than the on-going movement control order (MCO), people are angry about the double standards. Such practices have to stop,” the source said, adding that this will provide substance for the Opposition to take advantage of during an election.
They added that a majority of party leaders are aware that it may be too late to reverse the anger but hopeful that there will not be a general election this year as they are likely to be defeated.
“We can only win the hearts and mind of the people if these changes are made or it may be too late for us to win when elections are called,” the source said.
However, sources said several party members are unhappy with the way the government is running the country, citing how the administration caved in to pressure with the recent policy decision on the operation of Ramadan bazaars.
“We seem to be giving in to everyone without really thinking of the consequences. We were unhappy when Ramadan bazaars were allowed to open. We caved in to pressure, not wanting to upset the traders, hoping for their support in return,” he said.
According to the government’s Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system’s analysis, bazaars were identified as high-risk areas which can be a source of spreading Covid-19.
It also subsequently detected a high number of close contacts among bazaar traders and visitors.
The source disclosed that the government should not depend too much on data analytics used by experts to gauge the people’s sentiments but instead the people should be told of the suffering of those being given intensive care and about pregnant mothers or babies dying because of Covid-19.
“Yes we need data and analytics, but we need better communication strategies. We are failing with the way we are communicating with the rakyat.
“We have vaccines. We can control Covid-19. Follow SOPs. But they are not showing the real picture.
“People need to see this and know this. Such data should be made available every day. Only then will people know the actual picture,” he said.
Citing the communication failure, this eventually resulted in the government being ridiculed for enforcing a nationwide emergency.
“We are just giving some dry numbers on deaths which people still cannot connect with. People are still taking the virus lightly,” the source added.
As a grim reminder of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country, the Health Ministry had yesterday shared on social media how the Sungai Buloh Hospital is now forced to prepare a morgue container on-site to house bodies of dead Covid-19 patients.
Last week, the Health Ministry released photos of intensive care units (ICUs) treating Covid-19 patients, cautioning that such wards in the country were nearing maximum capacity or even completely full in some hospitals.
In a grim Facebook post, the ministry pleaded with Malaysians to comply with Covid-19 standard operating procedures to avoid getting infected and potentially being warded in ICUs.