Is there a vaccine for a seared conscience?

COVID-19 has shaken the world to its very core. In the past year, life has changed beyond recognition. This was not how we imagined 2020 would be, and it will never be the same again.

Even as scientists worldwide scramble to find a vaccine for the virus that has devastated the globe, no one knows for sure when this nightmare will end. Sadly, Covid-19 isn’t the only nightmare Malaysians have been facing.

Ever since Pakatan Harapan (PH) fell to foul play in February, the nation has been rocked by headline after headline of political calamity. Perikatan Nasional (PN) may have launched a successful coup, but it is by no means stable or united. All the parties that make up PN are simply on board for their own selfish interests, leaving the alliance very volatile and insecure.

This madness needs to end. Malaysians did not vote for an entourage of power-crazy frogs. We have no respect for backdoor governments. We do not want politicians who sell their souls for money and power to manage the country’s finances and the taxes we pay. 

We certainly reject politicians with seared consciences. Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing is a great example. Even when his unwarranted attack against Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stirred a storm of backlash online and offline, he insisted he hadn’t said anything wrong.

It took him five days to turn around. But note, he did not directly apologize to the D-G for insulting him and trying to damage his reputation. He merely apologized for overstepping the mark during the budget debate. Such arrogance!

Pathetic budget

However, to shine the spotlight on Tiong alone would be akin to missing the forest for the trees. Let’s not forget who is behind him, and that’s the entirety of the backdoor government.

Let’s not forget about Dr Adham Baba either. If Tiong really wanted to berate someone, should he not be directing his burning questions towards him? Of all people, the Health Minister should be the one leading the fight against Covid-19. He should be held personally accountable and responsible for the way he’s been handling the pandemic, or not.

Yet, Adham has been consistently missing from the frontlines, leaving our DG and the whole Health Ministry to fend for themselves. What about his deputies? That makes three of them, and they’re not at even a fraction of (former Health Minister) Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s competence! All we’ve heard from these musketeers is deafening silence. Can nobody do their jobs?

Let’s also consider the budget that PN proposed for healthcare and to combat Covid-19. It is so pathetic. Instead of allocating more funds to help the people, support front liners, and fight the pandemic, PN throws millions of ringgit at a political propaganda machine called JASA.

Instead of being open and transparent about any increase or decrease in allocation for different health departments or programmes, PN conceals them by reclassifying all expenditure under very vague and general “Specific Programmes”.

By the way, PN’s healthcare budget isn’t the only one to come under fire by critics. Budget 2021 as a whole has received serious backlash from economists, think tanks, industry players, and Members of Parliament for many different reasons. PN’s budget is a far cry from being a people-centred budget, but it is most certainly a PN-fattening budget.

What’s even more repulsive is that they’re trying to force and threaten the opposition into accepting a budget that was as poorly cobbled together by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s backdoor government. Instead of accepting constructive criticism and improving the budget for the sake of the people, PN is using it as a platform to wage a political war against PH, and all its critics.

Ordinary lives do not matter to PN. And those lives are ours.

If the budget gets rejected in Parliament this Thursday (November 26), it is akin to a vote of no confidence for Muhyiddin, likely paving the way for a snap general election. Malaysians, would you then vote for a backdoor government that spat on your 2018 mandate, and turned its back on you in your hour of greatest need?

*Lara Ling reads The Malaysian Insight

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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