What’s good for half of us, is an apparent nightmare for others. Where do we find the balance?
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In all honesty, working from home leaves us a lot of time for Whatsapp and social media. Everyone has encountered that forwarded message on a decision made by the Government, followed by negativity surrounding the handling of the Covid-19 situation. It would be easier to achieve cooperation if we grouped people into categories.
1. Prefers a full lockdown
This group likely consists of people who’s income has taken a negative impact of between 0% to 15%.
2. Prefers a partial or targeted lockdown
Probably made up of people with negative impact on their income ranging between 15% to 55%.
3. Prefers no lock down, but with strict SOP implementation
You probably guessed it by now. People with income negatively impacted from 35% to 75% in a full lockdown, are most likely to be not in favour of it.
4. Those who would NOT accept any form of government SOP announcement
Probably falling in the category of citizens who do not vote, these people would have a negative salary impact from anywhere between 65% to 100%.
Where did these figures come from? I plucked them out of air. Although they are not official statistics they are about as valid as the majority of online rants and those forwarded Whatsapp messages.
Now let us address some common questions fielded by economic policy and health experts which, in Malaysia, is how random people on social media see themselves.
Argument 1: We need a full lockdown
“Look at Australia. They have successfully controlled Covid-19 by enforcing a hard lockdown every time there is a case.” Yes, this is a success story, however Australia is also a “nanny state”. With high taxes, an abundance of aid is available to the public during those hard lockdowns.
Remember when we were in hard lockdown and people complained?
TLDR: We don’t have the money to provide the aid needed. Many SMEs that make up 98.5% of the economy will fold and people will lose their jobs. Ok can we move on from this? Note that members whose income is impacted heavily will not agree with hard lockdown. Yes, I know surprising right?, the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Argument 2: We should do a targeted lockdown
This is what has been in place and is considerably the best balance to keep most businesses alive. It keeps the most people employed and taken care of with the limited financial aid available.
Also maybe just maybe, segments of the SOP regulations sent our were meant for manufacturing (where they have 1,000 people working) and not you. Yes 30% of management and 60% of workforce is confusing. Ever think about that?
TLDR: Full lockdowns kill off SME businesses. The policy has a high potential to make you lose your job as the market contracts. Last I checked, having a job has a very close association with my ability to put food on the table.
Argument 3: No lock down but strict SOP implementation
The argument here is that if we cannot get vaccinations out quickly enough, together with insufficient funds for a lockdown, then we will have to weather the storm.
This can only be achieved at the risk of great loss of life, along with intense cooperation from the general public. That’s right, the guy who double parks, cuts queue and litters, needs to be on board too. He can be found breaking SOP guidelines somewhere, saying “Cannot is it?”. Having said that, ICUs will struggle to cope with the frightening number of cases.
TLDR: Too many people will die. Front liners will likely be looking for a change of career.
Side Argument 1: Vaccination program
“Why is the program so slow? Look at other countries. They are much faster and more efficient.”
Do you think we are a first world country? We have a shortage of vaccines. Even if this was rushed out, we would still lack supply. You know who else lacks supply? Most of the World.
TLDR: If there is no supply, how do we speed up? Got it? Good.
Side Argument 2: Why Government never help me?
The Government does not have money. With GST removed, some SME owners end up never paying tax. Also, really? You buy a new laptop every two years and deduct from personal tax. Sure or not?
TLDR: No money to help, how to help?
And finally, the elephant in the room.
Side Argument 3: Double standards
I agree with all policies laid out and that we are making the best of the situation dealt to us. However, why the double standard? And to that I say, Neelofa should probably be in jail.
Note to the government
Make a policy call, and stick to it. Changing policy every time someone complains makes you look weak or worse that your decisions were not well thought out.
If golf is banned on Friday, do not turn around and unban it on Monday. It would suffice to say the measures taken are the best way to stop the spread of Covid-19 based on data indicating X cases from golf resulted in a spread of Y cases, ultimately leading to the further spread of Z cases.
I shall leave you with this. Are Malaysians ready to brainstorm a solution that works for everyone? Every man, woman and their dog think it’s easy to debate policies but at the end of the day, having to work out a solution that works for everyone is far from easy.
PS: If anyone has any suggestions and complaints, please send all suggestions to random comment sections on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. Please leave TikTok alone so I can continue to enjoy my cat and baby videos in peace.
All opinions here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the stand of TRP.