KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – To say people have buried their heads in the sand is to mean they refuse to confront or acknowledge a problem.
And all of us have a serious problem right now while some of us really do seem to have our heads in the sand.
“We will keep our hotel open.”
“There is no need to close our car showroom.”
“I can’t afford to close my shop.”
“We should be considered an essential service.”
The feel on the street on Wednesday (March 17) was that some people did not want to obey the movement control order.
For the record, the order is enforceable under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and you can face a two-year jail term, fine or both if you break the order.
With two deaths and with the daily number of confirmed cases shooting up from the tens to the hundreds, stricter restrictions are necessary.
There is no point in waiting for four-figure spikes.
The next two weeks is critical for Malaysia. The tide of Covid-19 must be turned or our country will suffer even more.
The surest way we can be sure that the virus stops spreading is for all of us to stay put in our homes unless we really have to go out.
We must all sacrifice together to free ourselves from the grip of this virus.
But it will be pointless if some people observe the movement control order and some do not.
The spirit of the order is for Malaysians to unite against the spread of the virus and we need to do it once and for all.
We must keep calm, dig in our heels for these two weeks and show the world we have got it together.
Never forget Italy took it too easy and went from having 1,000 cases to more than 21,000 in just two weeks.
The frustration of some Malaysians over the order is understandable; there were elements of bad planning and preparation on the side of the government.
Signs that the fallout has gone from bad to worse were showing last weekend but the government still puttered about.
Then everyone was given 24 hours to prepare themselves.
With just one day to prepare for our national effort to do battle with Covid-19, hotels were not sure of what to do with their guests who have already checked in.
The rights of employees to their wages for these two weeks were also not made clear.
More than 300,000 Malaysians in Johor who commute to work in Singapore daily were left in the lurch.
There were also holes in the information given.
Earlier on, the daily updates of Covid-19 cases included lists of the cases separated by age groups and states.
Then all of a sudden, the updates became only the lump sum and people no longer knew how the situation was in their own states.
Fake news fanatics will thrive when the authorities withhold information, thinking that when people don’t know, people won’t panic. Not knowing only leads to more fear.
The Star remains steadfast in being a reliable information provider for readers. We will send the information from the top down, and we will also bring the sentiment of the people up for leaders to comprehend.
Despite the hiccups, Malaysia has shown a surprising ability to handle Covid-19, even compared with a few developed countries.
Standing in the front lines is the Health Ministry and its army of medical professionals who have earned the respect of our nation.
But they must be fatigued by now, and Malaysians who think they can still keep their shops open had better not believe they can keep on relying on the medical team.
If Covid-19 flares up to the next stage, our medical team may not be able to hold the line.
Let us make these two weeks count so that eventually, Malaysians can with more certainty and clarity put the scourge of Covid-19 further away from our daily lives.
The Star is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media entities.