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Coronavirus: It is time to turn away from Greed

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If we think it cannot be done, then prepare to face the next wave of retribution by Mother Nature, which could be more merciless, JD Lovrenciar writes.

What better time than now, amid the ravages of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, for the world to take stock of human greed.

In his recent message to the world, Pope Francis echoed the fundamental truth about leaders, governments and human activity. “Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things and lured away by haste.”

His observation should make every nation stop right now in its tracks and decide the direction it wants to take from now on. It is now or never for all of humanity.

Meanwhile, let us Malaysians convene and agree to rebalance and chart our own future.  For too long, we have been sold the mantra of greed. Greed for profits drove our privatisation policy.

We paraded the many government-linked companies, the string of billionaires and the many millionaires as the badge of our so-called success.

Greed for profits lured us all onto the path of haste, which we camouflaged with the catch-phrase “progress and development”.

Today faced with this universal plague, we Malaysians are holed up in our homes with our mobility curtailed. The fear of being the next victim of the virus and the threat of being the cause of its spread have taken away our freedom, granted by creation for all of humanity.

Even as the fatalities rise and unknown factor of how long and how bad the coronavirus will ravage the nation, we continue to see the magnititude of our greed raging on. People hoarding food. People capitalising on essential personal protective equipment to make a killing on profits. People falling victim to all kinds of scams including profiteering from the sales of face masks.

READ MORE:  Power, fear and greed: The Crucible still resonates today

Greed continues to take cover under the widely marketed slogan of “reviving the economy”. And now the quest is on to see who can capitalise from this unprecedented virus assault on humanity. Transparency and accountability remain sweet promises.

People, think about it. Malaysia is a nation dotted with places of worship across the land – not forgetting the shrines under trees and the prayer altars and prayer mats in many homes. We celebrate religious festivities almost all year round. We are particular about religious classes and religious instruction.

But greed for profit has become our preoccupation.

Today, even as we panic when faced by the onslaught of this global pandemic, which has torn down our so-called “economic resilience”, we are adamant about resurrecting our greed – the greed to make sure our self interest and cartel-style economic gains are protected – once this is all over.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crying out for aid. Entrepreneurs are pleading for financial help. Farmers are threatening to dump their produce. Fisherfolk have no qualms in hanging their nets and mooring their vessels.

An economic agenda set in motion four decades ago by a political mantra of race is crashing under the Covid-19 attacks.

We need to take stock of Pope Francis’ universal message to the world. Have we Malaysians not fallen victim to the greed for profit, allowing ourselves to “get caught up in things and lured away by haste”?

Can we rise and rebuild a nation consistent with the tenets of all the various religions taught to us on this land? Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Taoism and other faiths did not teach us to be greedy for profits. Our faiths did not promote the culture of being lured away in haste (economic and financial successes that serve cartels and groups and individuals).

READ MORE:  Power, fear and greed: The Crucible still resonates today

Can Malaysia – a small nation that has been blessed with fine weather, a wealth of natural resources and the wisdom of centuries-old faiths as well as the various philosophies of life and beingness – build a model nation for the world? We need to rebalance our political will. We need to re-chart our vision of nationhood. We need to see ourselves as Malaysians. We need to wipe out all those who thrive on greed and self-interest. 

If we think it cannot be done or believe it would be utopian, then prepare to face the next wave of retribution by Mother Nature, which could be more merciless. What we sow will be reaped by the next generation. 

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