The government’s sudden implementation of a third movement control order earned commendation from the World Health Organization (WHO).
After weeks of a rising number of infections – an average of 3,500 cases daily – the government finally saw it necessary to restrict people’s movements nationwide.
But there are several questions that those in power have not addressed.
They had more than a year’s experience and hindsight in the bag on how to tackle the virus.
They had many calls from political opponents and concerned experts well ahead of Ramadan to be cautious in opening up of all sectors of the economy.
They already knew – even with the limited testing and tracking capabilities, that super spreader variants of the virus were already in the country.
In view of all this, why did they not call for a lockdown at the start of Ramadan?
If they had, Malaysian Muslims would have been spared the painful, sudden surprise of not being able to celebrate Raya with modest Covid-prevention measures in place.
On the one hand, the government declared a strict lockdown – one that basically stops all forms of street vending and places strict guidelines on congregational worship, home visits and movement of people. But, on the other, it has allowed almost all economic sectors to remain open, subject to Covid-prevention measures.
The question is what economic sectors is the government protecting?
Why were the self-employed, including stall operators and the countless 2021 Raya traders, not recognised as an engine of the economy?
How will the authorities monitor small and medium enterprise factories, suppliers, shops and offices throughout the country to ensure that the strict measures are being adhered to during this third lockdown? How will they track down business owners who give their friends unjustified cover letters authorising movement during the lockdown?
The road blocks, which risk the health of the security personnel on duty, cannot possibly check every vehicle, mind you.
It was no surprise that social media overflowed with unhappiness over this lockdown.
No one questions the need to fight the virus together, as one nation. But is the government on the same page?
In a national crisis, instead of convening Parliament so that all elected representatives can work in unison, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has chosen to operate without the strengths, experience and wisdom of Parliament.
This has led to an overdrive of public condemnation and unhappiness. Certainly, the 70-member cabinet members are not oblivious to the countless videos, messages and audio files circulating in the country.