Who allowed the Tabligh gathering?
Published on: Sunday, March 29, 2020
By: Avtar Singh
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The Malaysian Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba’s advice to Malaysians to drink warm water to “flush” the corona virus down to the stomach, where digestive acids will kill any virus was anusing to say the least.

First of all, I am not a doctor in any capacity but I have been following the World Health Organization (WHO) and the updates they regularly tweet about the Corona Virus and keep informed from a reliable source with regards to the Corona Virus. 

At a time when so much of fake news is being spread, it is important to trust the key people in the leadership of this country with regards to accurate information relating to the Corona Virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there simply is no evidence to support Dr Adham’s “advice.”

We have lost three Malaysians already to the virus with over 1000 more hospitalized with a number of them in intensive care. And we have not as yet seen the end of the spread of the virus which makes the situation all the more serious.

Since our Prime Minister made his first of two live announcements last week, we have seen some professional and unprofessional decision making on the part of the National Security Council (NSC) from the half explained Restricted Movement policy, to the absurd policy of closing the border to Singapore without advance warning (we are now told the border will be opened in a few days’ time) that has left hundreds of thousands of Malaysians unsure as to the future as they are dependent on work in Singapore, to the directive for all University and college students to vacate hostels and boarding houses to the absurd form to fill in by each individual wanting to move between States at a police station near you to the inconsistent policies from state to state.

It seems there was no clear guidelines drawn up in advance in the weeks leading up to the introduction of the Restricted Movement Order to explain to the entire country what the corona virus is, why its dangerous, why it affects the nation and why we must introduce the restrictive movement policy for the safety and security of the nation in the short and long term. 

It would have been prudent for the Federal Government to also release the Prime Minister’s speech and the implementation of the Restricted Movement Order for television, social media and via WhatsApp in Mandarin, Hindi, Tamil, Dusun, English and key Sarawakian dialects to ensure the general public understood the mechanics for the introduction of the restrictions, the reasons why and how everyone needed to adhere to basic hygiene standards and to avoid large gatherings of people and why the 14 day order was introduced in a more sensible logical way to ensure the message reached out to everyone from all walks of life and throughout society? 

This belief that one speech in Bahasa Malaysia would be sufficient was poorly thought out as many were left confused and unsure. Yes, Malaysian’s are supposed to speak and understand Bahasa Malaysia fluently but you and I know this is not always the case, sadly.

We have doctor’s arguing with security personnel about the merits of not being able to go for a jog in parks, people trying to escape in mass numbers back to their hometowns and kampungs, mass panic over buying essential goods from super markets (this seems to have tapered off now) and groups of people laughing about the merits of the restrictive movement policy and having mass gatherings to celebrate not having to work whilst having a good old barbeque by the beach. You get the impression up till today, a large segment of society was not taking this situation seriously.

The bigger question needs to be asked who approved and allowed the gathering of 14,000 people for a missionary event at the end of February which has now become the catalyst for the spread of the virus nationwide when we all knew the dangers of the spread of the virus that began to arrive on our shores in mid to late February and has now allegedly expanded due to this mass gathering event. 

How was this allowed to happen in the first place knowing the dangers of the virus being spread with such mass numbers?

People need to understand the mortality rate of people dying from this virus is not exclusive to people over 50 or 60 years of age. We are seeing middle aged adults, some with complicated health issues also dying from it. 

If we are going to put some speed bumps in the spread of this virus as global citizens of this world and to make a difference, people simply have to start taking things seriously and to stop making it sound like it is just some virus that will go away tomorrow. 

Making a joke out of a horrible situation, if it was a joke to begin with just feels so wrong, especially on live television watched by millions. 

We are all making huge sacrifices as a result of this pandemic; thousands of people are on no pay leave and have families to support with no income. Others have business commitments to banks, some in the millions with no income and dozens if not hundreds of staff whose salaries need to be paid each month. The economic situation in Sabah is dire and many are suffering.

Our tourism industry has come to a complete stand still, our industries are closed and many people come the first week of April may be looking at a total economic collapse of their businesses. This is not a laughing matter.

We may lose doctors, nurses, medical lab technicians, medical support and administrative staff in this fight against the Corona Virus.

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