Singapore’s Channel News Asia is good at detailing the rigours afflicting its neighbours, the better, presumably, to show the city state’s administrative superiority. But it’s accurate, and the other day, it showed pictures of Serdang Hospital: a large tent under which patients drowsed on lines of camp beds that stretched to the car park, a sight simultaneously sad and pitiful, like a stanza out of Dante. There are worse stories. Klang Hospital is, apparently, running out of oxygen.
God bless our medical front-liners. They are, hands-down, the heroes of this crisis. My admiration for them is unbounded and the fact that they continue to go to work every day, uncomplainingly, is a miracle.
Take L, a skin specialist, compelled to help at the Covid ward at Serdang Hospital. The work, she says is non-stop: a daily grind of pressure and heartbreak in a hazmat suit.
And clap for the generous Malaysian. An hour after a doctor at Serdang Hospital urgently called for buns and bottled water, 400 of each, for his patients, swiftly relayed WhatsApp messages resulted in its delivery, courtesy of a Rotary Club chapter near the hospital
These are the country’s unsung heroes, not those clowns in government. I mean, don’t you just hate it when old men dream up new tricks to remain in power?
This Perikatan Naasional government seems fearful of being accountable for its decisions. For some reason, they do not want their decisions scrutinised by Parliament. Why not table its resolutions to revoke the Emergency ordinances before Parliament and subject it to debate?
That’s Democracy 101. It’s also basic courtesy after months of hiding under the skirts of an ersatz Emergency. Skulking around and then trying to push through a retrospective revocation of the emergency ordinances only signals something to hide, a whiff of fire and unholy smoke.
On Thursday, in an unheard-of display of royal pique, the King singled out Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan for “misleading” Parliament. There had, apparently, been a meeting between the King, the Minister and the Attorney General previously where the King had made clear that he wanted the revocation of the Emergency ordinances to be tabled and debated by Parliament before he consented to it.
The subsequent explanation from the PM’s office on Friday danced around the issue and never addressed the question of whether the King consented to the PN’s revocations. Did he sign off on it?
Nope. Neither did Parliament get a chance to debate anything. Takiyuddin coolly told Parliament that there was no need for debate as the Cabinet had done away with the revocations a week ago ergo there was nothing to get excited about.
Now if this was an action of the previous PH government, what do you think would have happened? Remember, also, the Law Minister then was one Liew Vui Keong from Sabah and the AG was a certain Tommy Thomas. I think we can safely assume that police reports would have piled up faster than an Usain Bolt on steroids. And the cries of treason would have reached near-hysteria.
Why is the government so fearful of scrutiny?
The simple answer is that they are loath to provide explanations: for the billions they have spent without legislative approval, for their dismal management of the pandemic.
The outbreak shows no sign of abating despite months of lockdown. The caseload now exceeds 1 million and continues to grow at an alarming pace.
Malaysia has always prided itself on its health system. Among developing countries, we were among the earliest to bring life expectancies and infant mortality rates on par with the developed world.
Now the system is breaking down. We are closing on 9,000 deaths from Covid and averaging 100-200 fatalities a day. The bodies are piling up, but the government insists that everything is “under control.”
This too shall pass. Meanwhile, you know what they say: some people are wise while some are otherwise.