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Hold Umno accountable for social distancing violation outside courthouse

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Those behind the gathering have made a mockery of the National Security Council’s unceasing efforts to keep Malaysia safe from the pandemic, JD Lovrenciear writes.

As the trial and conviction of former Prime Minister Najib Razak rolled on in court, a couple of thousand of his supporters gathered at the vicinity of the courthouse.

From the videos and photos seen in various reports, the sea of red cannot be missed.

The supporters, who came in droves as far away as the Pekan MP’s constituency in Pahang, were – going by the party colour of Umno – members or supporters of the party.

Surely ordinary individuals on their own effort would not have made that long journey to be in Kuala Lumpur just for a day. Was the trip ‘organised’ in a systematic manner? Were travel and accommodation plus meal costs provided too?

What was most disheartening was the total disregard for the standard operating procedures still in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A political party that allows, if not organises, its members (or supporters and sympathisers) to gather with no regard for social distancing is in breach of laws and regulations. It makes a mockery of the Ministry of Health’s determination to save the people.

Umno party leaders must be held accountable. They cannot play innocent or argue that the people came on their volition.

From the various statements in media made by certain leaders of the party in response to the people’s concern over the violations, it is clear Umno leaders relished the gathering outside the courthouse.

A political party that is jostling to lead the next government with some of its leaders already in the Perikatan Nasional government – with others serving as MPs and holding cream posts in government-linked companies – cannot behave so irresponsibly by allowing its members (and supporters) to break regulations during this pandemic.

Not only are the leaders setting a poor example, they have made a mockery of the National Security Council’s unceasing efforts to keep Malaysia safe from the second wave of the dreaded coronavirus that is already threatening the world.

Worse, by allowing or acting uninvolved with this gathering at the courthouse, the leaders and their henchmen have revealed their couldn’t-care-less attitude for the welfare and health of the people.

Can we hope that the powers that be will take immediate action against this gross misconduct?

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