Dear politicians, stay home?

APRIL 22 — It's been rather embarrassing to see all the social media posts "outing" politicians who have flouted the MCO.

It's not surprising when you consider our Cabinet has not been setting a good precedent online or on TV.

I have lost count of the times I've seen pictures of meetings where our politicians are huddled together or making visits which were not essential, unless you consider photo opps important.

What is the point of telling the rakyat to stay home and practise social distancing when our politicians act as though their positions give them immunity against the disease currently ravaging the world?

With the dwindling stocks of PPE for our frontliners, it is also upsetting to see politicians using them for non-essential visits.

It makes sense that people are angry at the lack of decorum displayed by people who should know better, but the reality is that some of it is cultural.

As far as grassroots are concerned, it is the polite thing for politicians to meet, mingle and eat with their constituents or underlings.

This fixation with cultural norms and propriety is silly but unfortunately so ingrained in our politicians they do not know what else to do.

I would suggest that perhaps they learn to use that thing we call imagination.

The Covid-19 pandemic is not frivolous; it is life-threatening.

I seriously doubt our politicians truly understand just how serious the situation is outside our borders.

In New York, the chances of you dying from the virus is 1 in 700. Over 40,000 people are dead in the US with the UK going past 16,000 deaths.

Corpses were left abandoned on the streets of the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador as the city's resources were too overwhelmed to cope.

Must Kuala Lumpur become another Guayaqil before our politicians all stop being so frivolous about the MCO?

With the resources at their disposal, our politicians are able to make video calls, tele conference, use apps such as Microsoft Teams or Apple FaceTime.

There is no point worrying about offending your constituents by not eating with them if your constituents end up dead.

It is also not enough for those politicians already outed for flouting the MCO to make half-hearted apologies.

Apologies are cheap. Instead, politicians should do more concrete things such as donating money to one of the many NGOs feeding those suffering during the MCO.

Why didn't a politician step up to pay the fine imposed on a poor senior citizen who had just been waiting for his food? Instead his neighbours had to resort to fundraising on his behalf.

Miti should also be making it easier for suppliers of medical equipment to bring their goods into the country.

From what I hear, middlemen are now gouging prices with thermometers that once cost around RM100 now selling for three times the price.

The time for giving anyone the benefit of the doubt has long passed. It is nearing the end of April. People are still dying around the world. It is time our politicians start taking their jobs, instead of themselves, seriously.

Political ineptitude shouldn't be costing Malaysians their lives or livelihoods.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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