Malaysiakini Letter

Take heed of warnings before it's too late

TK Chua
Published:

LETTER | There was an outpouring of grief for Dr Li Wenliang, the “whistleblower” doctor of Wuhan. There was also an outpouring of anger over his death. He had earlier raised the warning about the coronavirus in December but was reprimanded by officials for causing unnecessary alarm among the people.

Grief and anger, but is this all too late now? We can’t bring Li (above) back and the virus has spread deep and wide.

The problem really is killing the messenger, opaqueness and protecting the vested interest of those in power. The problem is not just China, but everywhere. It is just a matter of degree.

Most officials and politicians do not like to hear the real story on the ground. Even if they hear it, they can’t fathom the gravity of the problem. So they allow the problem to fester until it is too late.

Right now I am reading news about allowing international cruise ships to dock on our ports. I am also reading news about permission to have huge gatherings of people to celebrate certain festivals. In other words, life must go on like normal; business interests and dollars and cents are paramount.

I am quite sure Li’s warning was shot down for the same reasons. Officials prefer the convenience of allowing “business as usual” over the inconvenience of restricting the movement of people and commerce.

For Malaysia, are we sure we are doing all the right things and taking all the right precautions?

Japan has detected a large number of cruise passengers with coronavirus. Taiwan has banned cruise ships from docking at its ports. So, what are we doing here?

If every country takes measures to contain the virus seriously, I am sure the problem will be over sooner than later.

Li died and the problem became acute because we prefer not to sacrifice a little for the greater good. Don’t wait till the problem has become too big for us to handle.  


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

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