The pandemic lessons forgotten too soon

OCTOBER 20 — I was rewatching the Hunger Games films over the weekend and it struck me how much a lot of it paralleled our current situation.

Children being made to compete in a modern gladiator's arena as a means to keep the peace is barbaric on paper but is it any less cruel that rich nations put themselves first and hoarded vaccines, while poorer countries could only wait for donations?  

The pandemic laid bare all the systemic failures not just within our country but the world.

We could have emerged from this as better people or seen the dismantling of existing structures for a better, more equitable world.

Instead, predictably, we are being told nonchalantly we will just have to "live with the virus" and go back to living the way we did.

You would think that with the spectre of Long Covid looming and how nations have just given up on eradicating the virus, healthcare systems would see a shakeup and efforts being made to make them more accessible and affordable.

Instead, as usual, those who cannot afford treatment or who cannot muster enough public support for donations must accept that they apparently do not deserve to live.

Before we can talk about the world, Malaysians have to start in our own backyard.

It's a long laundry list of things to fix but first on the list probably has to be making politics unprofitable. 

The Jalur Gemilang is seen at a building in George Town August 6, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
The Jalur Gemilang is seen at a building in George Town August 6, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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As I've said before, politicians should be forced to choose between running for office or running a business.

Yet still we make it acceptable to have politicians hold multiple directorships or be awarded cushy GLC posts despite having neither experience nor expertise.

Not too long ago, one junior politician boasted about his posts though it was revealed he had basically written to a higher-up and shamelessly asked for one. 

Yet when called out, he wasn't in the least embarrassed. I guess in Malaysia asking for a post is the equivalent of "working hard."

There is no benefit to enriching politicians — the money doesn't trickle down, except perhaps into the pockets of family members. 

We need better politics and better politicians. Malaysia is better off without those who think being paid RM1,200 to do manual labour at palm oil plantations is "lucrative" or who keep saying we can't raise the minimum wage without hurting businesses.

At the heart of it, Malaysia needs to start giving more money — to people who aren't politicians. 

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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