As legend has it, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. 2,000 years later, our politicians feast while Malaysia’s aflame.
Are we being hyperbolic? Exaggerating? Let’s look at the week that was.
Highly, extremely frustrated Malaysians have been calling for a different approach to the long, drawn-out lockdown which has been no closer to getting the Covid-19 problem in hand. It’s time to change tack, many said.
Naturally, PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s f̶a̶i̶l̶e̶d̶ gomen kicked off the week by instead doubling down and telling us peasants the lockdown’s here to stay — or at least until Covid cases dip below 4,000 new Covid cases a day.
Moo also unveiled a shiny new stimulus package which, among others, once more gives us the grand option of withdrawing yet more EPF savings that many really can’t afford to. Tl;dr, a desperate attempt to use our own money to dig us out of the hole we’ve been put in.
It’s been all downhill from there.
Folks, things are now so bad that starving Malaysians have resorted to hoisting white flags outside their homes to signal for help. While the movement’s origins are heartwarming (it was started by regular Malaysians, to support regular Malaysians), it’s been heartbreaking to see the sheer number of folks who’ve been struggling to put food on the table and/or keep afloat during the pandemic.
Why? ‘Cos many people have no food, money, or even the liberty to go out and try to make a living.
All this would be merely irritating if it were simply due to gomen incompetence and if the lockdown’s working. Spoiler alert, it’s not! We’re closer to 7,000 Covid cases a day than 4,000!
Worse, the gomen’s announced that swathes of Selangor and KL will be under Enhanced MCO (EMCO) beginning today.
So it’s not just frustrating anymore — it’s infuriating! But it gets worse.
While regular Malaysians are suffering, some of those who’ve led us into this mess are either trying to capitalise on regular folk’s attempts to help each other or showing all the sympathy of a kid hovering over an anthill with a magnifying glass in hand.
Take Zuraida “I’m a minister” Kamaruddin. All that unnecessary sanitisationspray must’ve addled her brain. She was one of the first to jump on the white flag bandwagon. Didn’t she realise the campaign’s only there because her administration’s royally mucked up our Covid management?!?! Or is she just too thick-skinned to care?
Kedah MB Sanusi Md Nor went one better in the Douchebag of the Day sweepstakes by flat out refusing to help anybody flying a white flag. Why? ‘Cos it’s apparently anti-gomen propaganda!
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And while all this is happening, our glorious politicos are being caught with their pants down (figuratively!), breaking Covid SOPs.
Bad enough was Minister Mustapa Mohamed, who kena kantoi after being pictured eating at a restaurant, But t’was deputy Parliament speaker Rashid Hasnon who took the d̶u̶r̶i̶a̶n̶ cake.
The man was filmed stuffing his face at a durian feast, but instead of copping to it, tried to BS his way out
by claiming it was a year ago.
The matter would’ve died a natural “it’s-being-investigated” death had it not been for eagle-eyed netizens, who proved the event was more recent — like one week ago recent —than Rashid “remembered”. Face with this, the time-travelling deputy speaker admitted to attending the event but still continued trying to deflect blame!
Let’s recap: Parliament’s Deputy Speaker lied his pants off about flouting lockdown SOPs and when challenged likely lied about the reason for his lies. Notice a pattern here?
These issues are neither recent nor limited to politicians. It’s a privilege enjoyed by the rich, the famous or the powerful, and only ‘fessed to when exposed. The laundry list of miscreants is long and insalubrious and includes the likes of celebrities Jamal Abdillah, Siti Nurhaliza and Neelofa, and of course politikus of various stripes.
In almost all the cases, the miscreants are either ‘investigated’ and/or fined amounts they can easily afford. For the politicians, there’s no political price, unlike in other countries.
Of course, this is expected; knowing the weak-ass hold on power PM Muhyiddin Yassin has, he can’t afford to piss off anybody in his shaky coalition. Not to mention, of course, that he’d need to get out of the jamban long enoughto actually take any action.
Meanwhile, the rakyat get no such leeway, and instead, face the full brunt of the law and fines many can ill-afford to pay for the smallest of offences — and in some cases, even for non-offences.
And dear poli-ticks, eating mi Maggi to show how humble or down-to-earth you are doesn’t endear you to us peasants. Not when you wear million-ringgit watches or fly to France in the middle of Covid (and get salty when you’re then challenged about it).
So yeah, we’re tired, we’re fed up, and, to borrow from The Chicks, we’re “not ready to make nice, we’re mad as hell”. We’re now living with a sitch where it’s not inconceivable someone might starve to death while under lockdown, or dying on the floor of a hospital that’s filled to overflowing.
And like Nero, our patricians are fucking around while this is happening.