EDITORIAL: Time to Get Down on the Ground in the New Normal

IT’S been more than 100 days since the community or the local authority last had any events or initiatives in Subang Jaya due to Covid-19 and subsequently the Movement Control Order; Controlled Movement Order and now the Recovery Movement Control Order.

The focus during the MCO, CMCO and RMCO for the Subang Jaya community was to make sure no one (especially the lower-income groups) went hungry during the lockdown. Many initiatives were taken to take care of our own communities; sending food aid and making sure no one went to bed hungry. This continues to this day as a spillover of the past three months.

This has however left neighbourhoods in need of attention on the back burner. More complaints are being raised about the upkeep of facilities, infrastructure and general well-being of Subang Jaya. No one has taken the bold step to start organizing groups to carry out gotong-royong efforts; anti-dengue campaigns and clean-ups despite an increase in the number of dengue cases; or to even go back to the activities carried out back then.

With the National Security Council now allowing gatherings of more than 250 people and the loosening up of many sectors of society, we should kick-start our own efforts once again while adopting safety measures to protect ourselves. The low-income groups are mostly back at work and are slowly but surely getting back on their feet. It’s time for us to get back on our feet and start community efforts again.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of motor-vehicular accidents in the past month? While we do not have the statistics to comfortably confirm this, we have noticed a spike in the accidents involving cars, lorries and especially motorcycles. Have motorists become speedsters during the MCO, CMCO and now the RMCO? Has the fewer number of vehicles on the road during the first two phases of the MCO given rise to having motorists drive or ride faster on the roads?

I tend to think so. Post-MCO, we have now got new normal motorists on our roads, who continue to think the roads are theirs and theirs to drive on. I have personally witnessed cars wheezing past a red light; and a car driving against traffic at the roundabout. I shudder to think when these motorists will realise they no longer have the road to themselves.

With the global economy at a very fragile state and the rising number of unemployed, we can expect a spike in crime. In recent weeks, we have had reports of burglaries and theft confirming our fear that these are desperate times. Over the last 100 days, such incidences were rare namely because we were at home and movement was controlled. But now that we are all back at work, it is time to take the necessary measures to protect our home and family while we are away. It’s time to check that your house alarm system is working and armed when you leave it; it’s also time to be on your guard when walking on the street or crossing the road to avoid encountering a snatch thief and it’s time to remind your family to do the same.

Crime happens because we provide the criminals an opportunity to do it. Let’s not forget that in the New Normal, there are still people out there waiting to take opportunities on your own carelessness.

July is going to be an exciting month as many sectors of the nation open up. We are probably holding back on domestic air travel because of the higher cost and international travel is still prohibited. Some of us may want to take a break by going for a short trip with family or friends to unwind and reenergize. It’s a good time to do so.

Stay safe Subang Jaya. As we take baby steps in the New Normal, remember that we still have to make bigger steps sooner or later.