You can tell the Prime Minister is a student of history: like Napoleon, he learnt how, from the mistakes of the past, he could make new ones. 

Despite months of lockdown and reassurances from the authorities, the country has gotten no respite from the pandemic with new daily highs amid rising deaths. 

Its one success – a rapid vaccination rate – gets blighted by over-reach.  A mega vaccination centre for undocumented migrant workers, for example, can go horribly wrong when there are no clearly spelt-out protocols

A video on social media captured the chaos perfectly.  A motor cyclist stops to try and fashion order in a long waiting line with no semblance of social distancing. Indeed, they are sardine-like in their crush. 

He barks orders trying to make the line safer and there is some unenthusiastic movement. He cajoles, even begs, but they are bewildered and uncomprehending. He rants against government, screams at Minister Azmin Ali – Do something brother! – and finally breaks down, weeping, and asks why “no one in power is bothered about this.”

“People are dying,” he observes brokenly.

No explanations are needed. In truth, he should be commended for civic mindedness.

Whether the leadership cares is another matter. Truth be told, they all appear to be living different realities. 

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has clearly lost majority support but “appears confident and is willing to duke it out in Parliament.” This, from Free Malaysia Today. 

Yes, but only on September 6, which is weeks away. Why is that do you suppose? Why not now, if he is confident and prepared to duke it out? 

Everyone knows why – he does not have the numbers but needs time to, well, do so. No one, however, least of all the enforcement agencies, seems to care that getting the said numbers could be through a crime. 

At least three opposition lawmakers – all from the Democratic Action Party – have been approached through anonymous WhatsApp texts to support Muhyiddin in return for cash and ministerial appointments. 

Police reports have been made. That’s a week ago. Ho hum, thers’s SOP for you. The premier seems “unflappable”.

Maybe someone else will bite. Or, in the words of the Rolling Stones, “Time is on my side.”  

Meanwhile, you’d think former premier Jibby has a whole epoch on his side the way he’s pontificating about this, that and the other. Here is a man, to quote the Wall Street Journal, accused of the “greatest heist in history,” a man found guilty of said heist by Malaysia’s High Court. And he not only glibly dispenses advice to all and sundry, but has his own cheering squad to boot, and is considered a long shot contender for the premiership.

Now you can understand why countries like Japan consider bail a privilege and not a right. 

It is lamentable that Malaysia chooses to display its worst face to the world currently. But what is amazing is we do not appear to comprehend this stark truth. Not a bit, not at all. 

Why else would the Home Ministry suddenly quadruple the “offshore income” of participants in the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to RM40,000 a month and insist on at least RM1 million in fixed deposits, from RM150,000 previously?

And the new rules appear to affect people already established under the old rules. 

Any number of lawyers will tell you that such retrospective effect is odious. Many of these people have been here for years and rely on offshore pensions that might have been sufficient under the old rules but not the new. 

We are doing it, apparently, to boost the economy by attracting richer, “higher quality” participants. 

The policy makers should get real. 

What do they think the rest of the world thinks of us?