By Rebecca Chieng
AT the time of writing, our nation is still grappling with a ballooning number of Covid-19 cases around the country. New clusters are being announced almost daily. Without a doubt the rakyat are deeply affected and anxious about our future.
As at Oct 14, Sarawak had recor-ded 52 Covid-19 cases since Sept 26. According to State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, almost half of the cases originated in Sabah – 46.15% cases involved people who had returned from Sabah. So although the situation is more or less contained, Sarawak is not completely out of the woods.
Then, on Oct 15, the Sarawak Youth Day event, to be held on Nov 7, was announced. Imagine my horror when state Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah announ-ced that the ministry aims to get a crowd of 1,000 participants! There will be a motivational talk held before the event, for which the organisers are hoping to get 250 participants.
Sarawakians, like all Malaysians, are still dealing with the repercussions and the ripple effects of the pandemic. As much as our leaders wish to assure us that event participants will adhere to the SOP strictly, that reassurance rings hollow when we observe the consequences of the recent state election in Sabah. Cases in three-digit numbers and new deaths are being reported every day now. Have we learnt nothing from that? Have we not taxed our medical frontliners enough? Has the rakyat not suffered enough?
Can we, for once, prioritise responsibility and sensibility before publicity and popularity? The minister may have noble intentions to motivate the state’s youth – but how motivating will it be when their health is compromised, Covid-19 clusters appear, schools have to shut down, their parents’ livelihoods are affected… need I say more?
On behalf of Sarawakians, we appreciate the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee’s valiant efforts to enforce restrictions to curb the recent spread. However, let us not allow complacency to creep in and undo all the good that has been done. Let us not allow history to repeat itself.
I humbly appeal to the authorities to exercise wisdom and sound judgment. Please, please do not proceed with that public event in November.
This letter first appeared in The Star. The views by the Kuching writer, do not necessarily represent those of this portal.