Kota Kinabalu, Saturday, 14 November 2020
The “DG takut mati” speech by Bintulu MP, Dato Seri Tiong King Sing, at parliament should be taken in a positive light that more and more people are expressing openly the increasing frustration felt by the people.
The Bintulu MP was relating about the tragic case of the ashes of the rape-murder victim from Sarawak who was brought back from Taiwan to Sarawak on transit at KLIA. Apparently, the family of the victim was made to undergo a 14-day quarantine at KLIA even though the family have already tested negative for Covid-19 in Taiwan which is one of the few places in the world that have successfully overcome the pandemic.
Indeed, a persistent question among the people is, why is there a need to quarantine some who had already tested negative for Covid-19?
This is not to say that the people are not in full support and appreciation of the sacrifices and hard work of health and security frontliners who are performing a very difficult task. Of course, people are truly appreciative of the frontliners.
But, at times, people are puzzled by the repeated assurances of the Director General that medical facilities, PPE (personal protection equipment), and manpower are sufficient when people on the ground know that the medical services are over stretched.
At times, the brave statements by the top brass of the administrators do not tally with the harsh reality on the ground. The harsh reality is faced not only by the medical but also welfare and by security frontliners. As the frontliners are not allowed to speak up, they hope that politicians such as their elected representatives can speak up for them.
We should not wait for another physical protests like what happened at Lahad Datu last week when hundreds of hungry and suffering residents staged an angry demonstration at the police barrier against the continued lockdown that have turned their housing area into a “big prison”.
Complete chaos and breakdown in law and order was averted only when the security authorities were forced to announce the lifting of the lockdown. It seems that the lockdown was insisted by the medical authority against the views of the security and local administrators.
Those residents had lost their patience and perseverance when they watched on television that their lockdown had been extended by another two to four weeks. Obviously, some residents panicked and became angry when they saw no hope of getting food and supplies for their families. This is basic human reaction that the medical authorities should have foreseen.
By now, ten months into the pandemic, the authorities, must realise that the cruel effects of lockdown can be more damaging than the virus itself if the lockdown is extended again and again.
At Kota Kinabalu, some people who are on home quarantine are not able to leave home to buy food. But the welfare and local authority had no idea who have been forced into home quarantine. Instead, the government asked the quarantined persons to apply to the government for food aid. Why was it not possible for the health authorities to inform the local authorities about the persons who have been quarantined and the addresses so that food aid can be sent as soon as possible?
Datuk Yong Teck Lee,
SAPP President, ex-Chief Minister, Assemblyman (Nominated)