Thu Apr 02 2020
Third week into the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed by Putrajaya to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, we are still hearing complaints from people around us for being forced to stay indoors.
There are also those who find the flimsiest excuse to still be out on the road, despite the various roadblocks and patrols mounted by our authorities. Motorists who are found on the road without valid excuses are often asked to turn around and return home, while the more "stubborn" ones are detained.
Thus far, those flouting the MCO have been let off with relatively light sentences, such as two weeks in jail and a RM1,000 fine, or in the case of a group of 24 Catholic seminarians in Penang, only social service for three months.
Perhaps it is time to have a look at the strict enforcement taken by the authorities in the examples below, and count ourselves lucky to have considerate enforcement here.
The PhilippinesPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned that violators of coronavirus lockdown measures risk being shot down by the authorities.
"It is getting worse. So once again I'm telling you the seriousness of the problem and that you must listen.
"My orders to the police and military... if there's trouble and there's an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead.
"Is that understoodd? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you," the president, notorious for his shoot to kill policy against drug-related criminals, was quoted saying.
IndiaIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week announced a three-week lockdown for the whole country, given the increasing COVID-19 cases. Since then, the social media is filled by photos and video clips of lockdown violators on motorcycles being beaten with sticks by policemen and women, who clearly seem like that they have no time nor interest to hear excuses.
In some cases, people can be seen being forced to do the squats or perform the "duck walk" in public, for being outdoors when they should be indoors.
The sudden lockdown announcement, however, has left hundreds of thousands of migrant labourerers in the country, in a lurch. Left with no job and no money in major cities, they are forced to march hundreds of kilometres back to their villages as the last resort.
There is also a footage showing migrant workers being sprayed with chemicals by municipal council workers, to disinfect the former before they entered their home provinces, as they sit crouched on the side of the road.
KenyaOn Tuesday, a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed while playing on his house balcony in Nairobi, Kenya, by a police team enforcing a curfew.
Last week, in the port city of Mombasa, police fired teargas at ferry commuters and beat people with batons for not heeding orders to disperse.
RussiaIn Moscow, the capital of Russia, residents will only be allowed to leave their home for either urgent medical problems, buy things at the shop or pharmacy, or take out the rubbish, provided it is within a distance of 100 metres of one's home.
Additionally, location data gathered from people's mobile phones will also be used to track the movements of citizens.
So, does Malaysian enforcement seem lenient in comparison? At least the people, even under the enforced Second Phase of the MCO, are allowed to travel within a 10km radius from their homes to get groceries, for instance.
We can complain to no end about having to be confined within four walls, but at least the government is giving "perks" like free internet to encourage us to do so!
We can also take consolation in the fact that we can return home unharmed, and in one piece, from a grocery run - provided we heed the authorities' advice.
So, please #stayathome and together, break the COVID-19 infection chain!
Photo source: Astro Awani,dw.com
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