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30/03/2020 10:40 AM

By Erda Khursyiah Basir

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Parties from both sides of the political divide must put their differences aside and unite to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Only a non-partisan approach can boost the government’s efforts to check the disease and minimise its impact on the people and the nation, said political observers.


Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“No matter what their personal or party agenda is, now is the time to put it aside and focus on efforts to contain the crisis,” said Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed, head of Governance and Integrity Cluster at the Centre of Government Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia.

Speaking to Bernama, he said party leaders and politicians should help to disseminate accurate information to the people and appeal to them to comply with the Movement Control Order (MCO) and follow advisories issued by the authorities, as well as their recommendations, to mitigate their exposure to the virus.

“This is the time for our politicians, no matter which party they belong to, to show their maturity by setting aside their ideologies for the sake of the people and the nation,” he said.

He said Malaysian politicians could take a leaf out of the book of their counterparts in China, the United States, United Kingdom, Iran and some European nations who have joined forces to fight the pandemic.

 

STRICT YET GENTLE

Urging Malaysians to act responsibly and give their full cooperation to efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, Ahmad Martadha said although the nation is now going through an unprecedented crisis, the government has been able to handle it with its decisive yet prudent approach.


Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

He said in the series of announcements made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after the enforcement of MCO, he was seen as taking the gentle approach in advising the people.

“In social media, many people commented that in his second live address on March 18, the prime minister was like a father who is advising his children to stay home and take care of their health.

“We should appreciate the gentle and prudent ways of our leaders in dealing with this disease which has now become a global menace,”  he said, adding that the strategies unrolled by the nation’s experienced leaders will prove effective in managing the challenging situation prevailing in the country.

 

TESTING TIMES


Dr Hairol Anuar Mak Din.

Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor senior lecturer Dr Hairol Anuar Mak Din, meanwhile, urged politicians to use their influence in positive ways, more so now when the nation is facing testing times.

He said some politicians had questioned the government’s decisions to enforce MCO, deploy the army to help the police monitor the people’s compliance with MCO and allow workers to withdraw part of their savings from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

“This is the first time our government is dealing with such a crisis and controlling the spread of COVID-19 is not an easy task. The government is trying its best to bring the situation under control to ensure the safety of the people and is implementing certain initiatives to help those who have been badly hit by the crisis,” he said.

The governments of other countries like China and Italy, he added, have enforced a curfew to curb the spread of the virus.

Last Monday, Muhyiddin announced that beginning April 1, EPF contributors aged below 55 can withdraw from Account 2 a maximum of RM500 a month for a period of 12 months.


EPF will allow contributors to withdraw RM500 a month over a 12-month period to help them to cope with financial constraints due to the enforcement of MCO (Photograph for illustrative purposes). --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The government will also channel an additional RM130 million to the various states to help the state governments to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Muhyiddin gave his assurance that equal allocations would be given to the states, irrespective of the parties ruling them.

“The crisis we are facing is affecting all the rakyat regardless of race, religion or political alliances,” he said.

 

Translated by Rema Nambiar

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