LETTER | Not too long ago, Pemandu fed us with 'NKRA', 'GTP', 'ETP' to make the country a developed and high-income nation.
Since the pandemic, we are being fed with National Recovery Plan, MCO (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0), RMCO, CMCO and EMCO as a preventive measure in response to the pandemic.
The government may be trying its best to control the pandemic but I believe most Malaysians do not know and do not care what the measures are called but need proper guidance and practical solutions to problems. High-sounding names are irrelevant if people do not understand what they are.
People drafting the plans, guidelines and SOPs have to ensure they are simple, carefully thought-out and make real sense and of course, to be perused by the boss/bosses. People are told to follow SOPs but the SOPs are not fully thought-out, confusing and not effective.
Let us take a few examples.
Advising people to drink warm water is simple but is it medically proven. Is it necessary to place barbed wires at staircases of certain low-cost flats? Computer and telco shops closed and also stationery sections in shops while children are learning online and adults are working from home.
One day, individuals exercising outside the house is not allowed then retracted two days later. Ramadan bazaars and night markets initially allowed ostensibly for economic reasons were ordered to shut a few days later. Employees needed police permits to travel for work or health purposes but it was later clarified that an employment pass and an employer’s letter would suffice.
Congregations at mosques many times bigger than a supermarket were restricted - they spend hardly half an hour inside and strictly practice social distancing. Now, with infected cases and death climbing, the restrictions are relaxed.
Mixed messages from different ministries and ministers add to the befuddlement. Rules and SOPs just appear without scientific nor evidence-based reasons at very short notice.
The best part is to place blame on the people and fine them while lengthy investigations are needed for politicians and celebrities who flagrantly breach SOPs.
The point here is, did the boss/bosses peruse the outputs? Then again, did the subordinates and those enforcing the orders not question the foolishness of the orders?
Or just the normal, ‘Saya yang menurut perintah’ sign-off for fear of being charged with insubordination or sidelined for future advancements?
And I am very sure experts were not consulted? Taking a leaf from Pemandu, please do not engage foreign experts because we have many capable Malaysians at cheaper or no cost.
It is heartening to note that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had issued a statement stating that cooperation with health, economic and social experts would be strengthened to ensure effectiveness.
Let us be more professional in finding solutions and engage all the resources available. And for the umpteenth time, ministers and ministries please work together and stop issuing conflicting statements.
People are monitoring the government's competency and professionalism in its efforts to curb the pandemic. Let us be more inclusive and transparent.
Who is really calling the shots, to speak with authority and be responsible and accountable? Or is the MCO is only about making confusing orders and ‘perintah mesti di turut’?
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.