MP SPEAKS | On 'stupid' policies and SOPs

MP SPEAKS | In his public address yesterday on television and through social media, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that it was okay for the public to scold “stupid prime minister”.

I’m not sure if the PM was trying to score sympathy points with the public but I don’t think this is an appropriate public response to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia. Please don’t blame the public for being frustrated if the policies or standard operating procedures (SOPs) announced by certain ministers are seen as “stupid”.

For example, in the latest tightening of the movement control order (MCO) 3.0, the following three policies do not make sense to me and probably to the larger public as well.

Firstly, the restriction on businesses including eateries to operate only until 8pm at night. This will have the effect of making people crowd at the restaurants and mamak stores which are doing take away close to the closing time of 8pm. At the same time, it will also endanger the food deliverers on motorcycles (Food Panda and Grab Food, just to name two of the more popular food delivery options) as they rush to fulfil the final orders nearing 8pm. Why not extend the operating hours of restaurants for the take out option until 10pm so that such a rush does not occur just before 8pm? Pardon my language, this is a really stupid policy or SOP.

Secondly, reducing the capacity of public transportation by 50 percent will increase the crowding effect of those taking public transport. This will increase the probability of Covid-19 spreading, especially if physical distancing is not possible in crowded public transportation options such as the LRT, MRT and buses especially in the Klang Valley.

Thirdly, reducing the civil service capacity to just 20 percent will likely increase the queues and waiting lines for those who have no choice but to go to government offices to process documents, pay fees and other government related transactions, especially if they don’t have the capacity to do all of these things online!

So, dear prime minister, if you are able to work together with your key ministers to come up with SOPs which are science based and which make sense, then I am sure that none of us will ever dream of calling you or anyone else in your administration stupid.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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