COMMENT | While the Covid-19 continues to cause disruption all around the globe, politicians here and almost in all countries have not really reacted professionally. Their lack of leadership is questionable.
Looks like they are more concerned about their positions and chairs rather than taking the bull by the horns.
In Malaysia, the government too has been seen lacking the will power to make hard decisions.
Frankly, there are no two ways about it. It is a real war out there and lack of stern action from day one of the movement control order (MCO) is beginning to show its consequences.
The advisory and "soft" approach have just not worked out as anticipated. The impact on the economy was underestimated by many nations including here.
But since we are at the tipping point, it is time the government forget about their gross domestics products (GDP), inflation rates, stock markets and what have you not.
Who cares at this moment of time about the GDP. After all, I dare say 90 percent of the population does not even understand what GDP stands for and how it works.
Neither do they know what basket the government carries to calculate the inflation rate.
An economic stimulus strategy in layperson terms means putting adequate cash into his pocket. We do not need fancy terms to comprehend financial or economic terminology.
Now, back to the Covid-19 issue. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin may have got it all wrong and that goes to his team of advisers too.
Asking Malaysians to withdraw their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) during this crisis goes against the very grain of assisting the needy. Majority of the contributors are in the B40 and M40 categories.
The savings are for their retired days. And it is the very same government that has been advocating that contributors are not encouraged to withdraw their savings until the need comes.
During these times it is the duty of the government to assist all Malaysians to ride the tide collectively but looks like the ordinary man is being told to do the reverse.
Instead of handing immediate cash relieve to them, the government wants the rakyat to use their own savings to pay utility bills and other mandatory taxes.
Are we saving ourselves or are we more interested to save utility companies like the electricity providers, water departments and others?
The government should have on the contrary asked for a three to six months waiver on all bills to immediately free some cash for the public.
All sorts of taxes should be waived for this year the least, starting April. And this includes assessments, land tax, Indah Water Konsortium bills and the rest.
The rakyat is no longer interested in any politics at the moment. We are facing a threat like never before.
We need leaders who make sound and valid decisions.
The government must bite the bullet now! Not tomorrow or day after.
NARINDER PAL is a veteran political observer and a practicing pharmacist.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
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