Consequently, some civil liberties have been suspended as a result of the imposition of restrictive SOPS designed to check the spread of the virus. SOPs are necessary evils that will be supported by the rakyat so long as they are effective in flattening the curve.
While this happens, we have to be mindful of the prolonged sacrifices being made by the frontliners, many of whom are no doubt battling stress and fatigue to keep us safe.
But it is also true that the imposition, relaxation, and re-imposition of SOPs by sectors, boundaries, activities and needs have caused a certain degree of confusion among the public, largely due to inconsistencies.
For instance, in the latest conditional movement control order (MCO) phase in some parts of the nation, it is illegal for more than two family members to travel together to buy groceries but it is OK for a greater number of people, unrelated to each other, to be in a gym. The rakyat are confused by the seeming contradictions, leading to much social media speculation. SOPs must be clear and precise to avoid another kind of “C” MCO (confused movement control order).
Of paramount urgency now is to keep the wheels of the economy turning. There should not be any more restrictions put in the way of those involved in economic activity as long as they fully comply with the SOPs. Instead, they must be assisted.
Another thing: Everybody is already aware of the need for safety and healthy habits but if there are pockets of resistance, these should be dealt with under the full force of the law.
Make no mistake, the people aren’t against restrictive SOPs, but they need more consistency and rationality in the formulation and implementation of the measures.
Yes, tough situations call for tough measures. It follows that clarity and consistency will go a long way to assuage fears over the temporary suspension of civil liberties for the common good. This will make the current SOPs and subsequent ones more acceptable and palatable.
It is heartening that more leaders are calling for a moratorium on political manoeuvring at this crucial time. Their calls for a “political ceasefire’’ must translate into a clarion call to politicians to cease and desist testing the waters at this time of national crisis.
Those who don’t pay heed may face the wrath of the rakyat, and that is most undesirable.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
Chairman, Alliance For a Safe Community
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