When Muhyiddin Yassin staged the coup on 29 February, there were 25 Coronavirus cases.
The week after he was sworn in as prime minister, the figure had quadrupled to 99 cases.
The civil servants should have been on high alert by now. By 15 March (two weeks after he became PM), the cases had risen to 428.
Mosques should have been alerted the week before especially after it was reported that the man from Brunei had fallen ill on 7 March after attending the tabligh meeting.
Muhyiddin refused to call an emergency meeting that weekend. With the escalation in Coronavirus cases, during these two weeks, his administration should have started formulating plans with key people. Did they?
The selective PN-Members-Only meeting on Monday 16 March, has shown Muhyiddin Yassin’s lack of leadership and the Chief Secretary to the Government, Zuki Ali’s incompetence.
The other mistake was the lack of proper planning and well thought-out policies, including offering financial and economic help, in Muhyiddin’s administration’s hastily prepared restriction on movement.
Muhyiddin’s announcements came in dribs and drabs. People were scared into mass panic and confusion. He failed to state the objectives of the controlled movement of people. He reacted with a detailed explanation only when he saw scenes of panic on the roads and at bus-stops.
Instead of controlling the spread of Coronavirus, people are helping to increase the risk of the spread of the disease.
The following are examples:-
- Mosques continued holding Friday prayers and mass gathering, despite people falling ill.
- People who returned from the tabligh religious meeting had fallen ill with Coronavirus as early as 7 March. Muhyiddin could have ordered a ban on Friday prayers, from 13 Friday onwards, but he failed to do this. He announced a ban 10 days later, when the disease had spread.
- Students were allegedly turfed out of their hostels before finalising transport to return home.
- Students returning home, may infect their parents in their hometowns or rural areas. They may infect others during the journey home.
- Parents with children in boarding schools, rushed to collect their offspring.
- People headed for the countryside to escape being confined in the cities, and transport hubs were overwhelmed.
- The demand for police permits to move between states created massive queues outside police stations (this ill thought-out move has been rescinded then resumed by banning travel between states).
- People panicked into hoarding food and certain items, causing chaos at supermarkets.
- Millions of unregistered migrant workers will be reluctant to seek help if they are struck down with Coronavirus. What is the government’s directive about this group of people?
More information is needed for the following:-
- Businesses and employees would like detailed guidelines about closure. Many owners fear going bankrupt. Many workers fear being made redundant.
- Small businesses and self-employed people wonder if the government will offer financial help.
- Without any money coming in, people wonder about paying their mortgage, loans and rent. What is the government’s plan to help these people?
- Is the social welfare service able to assist people who live on their own, such as the elderly and infirm, whose children work in the cities?
- Have enforcement officers investigated the cases of profiteering. Some shopkeepers are selling essential items at inflated prices, both in the shops and online.
- What about the refugee camps and prisons?