Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
حكومن دمي حكومن دمي حكومن باڬي رعيت يڠ سديا ترسيقسا
The newly introduced Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 to curb the so-called spread of ‘fake news’ is already driving the final nail into the coffin that is Perikatan Nasional’s chances of doing well during the upcoming general election.
Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan’s ‘assurance’ that the ordinance will not be used once the nationwide state of Emergency is lifted is no consolation, as everyone knows that for a fact without the need for Takiyuddin to spell it out.
It is as clear as the light of day that the government is draconian and high handed when it comes to punishing the rakyat but overly protective of Members of Parliament who support Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his administration.
Now it seems that the government wants to punish more people by penalising those deemed to be spreading ‘fake news’ regarding Covid-19 or the state of Emergency without telling us what that news might be.
According to Takiyuddin, people who claim the government sought an Emergency declaration because it lost its majority may be deemed as spreading ‘fake news’.
But Takiyuddin was quick to add that it was his opinion, meaning, even he is not sure what constitutes ‘fake news’ and what doesn’t. So who gets to decide if not the de facto law minister himself?
From the day Muhyiddin came into power, it has been nothing but reports of people getting summoned, charged in court or imprisoned over Covid-19 offences, including cases in which people wore masks but did not wear them properly.
But politicians from the government bloc who violated Covid-19 related SOPs before, during and after the Sabah State Election either got off easy or have yet to be dealt with.
Seriously, how would one account for the ceramahs in Sabah where dozens, if not hundreds, went unsupervised as they stood listening to Members of Parlaiment talk while ignoring social distancing rules?
A sharp contrast to the government’s claim that it is caring, policies by the Muhyiddin administration seem geared towards treating the man on the street as if he were the enemy, not Covid-19.
This isn’t me talking, but the general consensus among members of public based on interviews conducted by my team at random in the Klang Valley, Ipoh, Penang, Kedah and several parts of Malacca.
Even Datuk Zaid Ibrahim pointed out correctly that a ‘caring’ government would spend money on educating the masses on how to deal with information in the social media, not see the people as the enemy.
If indeed the government is caring and responsible, it would go out of its way to address concerns that could raise doubts or anxiety among the people, not sweep issues under the carpet and trigger more anxiety and confusion along the way.
Like the question of majority – instead of allowing Members of Parliament to question the legitimacy of government in parliament, Muhyiddin brushed off every attempt by every elected representative to do so and now wants to punish anyone who poses such questions in public.
How is that caring? How is that responsible? How can one who triggers a state of confusion, anger and anxiety by virtue of his own ignorance threaten those who question him with severe punishment?