LETTER | Yesterday, Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin stated that pillows and mattresses brought in by Kelab Putera 1Malaysia in trailer lorries to the victims of the recent floods in Penang had the "photo" of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Afif of PKR also alleged that “For three days, all the flood victims at relief centres in the state slept on the bare floor, just to wait for pillows and mattresses with Najib’s face on it. I was there, I saw it for myself."
Pray tell, whose bright idea was it to have the prime minister's face on these much-needed pillows and mattresses? And was Najib's face photo printed on the fabric or was it on flyers/leaflets tagged to them?
The very act of plastering a photo of the PM onto much-needed relief and aid items is not only a gross insult to the government of the day but makes the number one leader of the nation look desperate and cheap.
From a public relations perspective, the act is a failure from the word 'go' that had the PM's face on relief bedding materials.
From the wealth of human wisdom, as enshrined in the holy books of various faiths, the mantra of 'let not the left hand know what help the right hand gives' has certainly been disregarded with arrogance.
When nature strikes and devastates our environment, leaving people in peril, it is the categorical duty of the government to rescue and bring relief to its citizens in the quickest time possible.
All such efforts are not acts of charity, a show of kindness, or even a testimony of considerate care. It is, on the contrary, a sacrosanct duty to serve the helpless.
Why do organisations and individuals see responses in a crisis as an opportunity to showcase their leader or their organisation's apparent care, concern and generosity?
Do our respective religious beliefs or philosophies of life encourage, teach and inspire us to capitalise on human suffering?
Let us hope that this episode will be debated and discussed at all levels so that we do not let this culture of preying on the vulnerable to permeate all segments of our society.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.