Have We Returned To Square One?

By Sarawakian

Let me begin by correcting typos when I wrote on the last article entitled, “The Formation of Malaysia 1963”. In the same article, I mentioned that the first General Election after the formation of Malaysia in 1963 was held in 1964. That means, the General Election in 2018 (In the earlier article, the typo was this being 2008) supposedly the 13th General Election and not, the 14th General Election as many would have erroneously thought. This historical error occurred because they assume the 1st General Election held in 1959 was the first Malaysian General Election when in fact, it was the 1st and last General Election of the Federated States of Malaya.

With that out of the way, the past month saw Sabah also going to the polls for their 16th Sabah Government Elections. The nomination day was held on the 12th September 2020 and the polling day was on the 26th September 2020. This saw an amazing 447 candidates from 20 parties and a long list of independents contesting for 73 seats. In the end, 275 of them lost their deposits when the final tally came in. Do not forget that it costs one RM5,000 to place as a deposit and another RM3,000 for cleaning up the campaign materials. With 275 losing their deposits, that are a handsome sum of RM1,375,000 just for the deposits forfeited. One wonders if the 447 sum for cleaning of RM3,000 x 447 = RM1, 341,000 would be forfeited as many would be unable to ensure full clean ups.

The final result saw another close one and as expected, not much change from 2018. Nevertheless, the action to dissolve and let the people decide was a good and correct one. It was understood that a total of 66.61% which was below the target 75% and the one in 2018 which saw about 77%. This was due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic globally.

GRS or Gabungan Rakyat Sabah won 38 versus 32 of Warisan Plus and another 3 seats went to independents. What was very clear was that logos meant nothing as voters have shown that they know whom and what they are voting for. It also showed a strong equal division. Nevertheless, the people have won and that is more important. This also cemented the fact that we are indeed back at square one. I meant that in a good way as voters have become noticeably mature and political rhetoric by candidates and their campaigners have become less ridiculous during the campaigns. Sabahans have indeed shown the way as to why Malaysia belongs to the Rakyat and not political elites.

There is also a fact that after the elections have come and past, the number of COVID-19 infections have risen to the highest compared to the first MCO (Movement Control Order) period. Cases have got its first high again post MCO and CMCO with 287 cases on 2nd October 2020. The first high was 235 cases on 26th March 2020 (MCO) followed by 277 cases on 4th June 2020 (RMCO) and 260 cases on 1st October 2020 (RMCO). Would we see any days with higher cases? We do not yet know. However, our DG of Health has calmed nerves down by saying that we are better prepared now compared to before but would still need the cooperation of everyone to practice the SOPs of the 3 Cs and 3 Ws. The avoiding of Crowded Spaces, Confined Spaces and Close Conversations forms the 3 Cs. The Washing of Hands, Wearing of Masks and Warnings compliance form the practice of the 3 Ws.

The current positive cases as reported in the main media and social media of shopping centres have curtailed the recovery of shopping centres. In many today and for the past weeks beginning October, you would observe empty parking spaces and low patronage for shopping. I am very sure, many of us have again reviewed our plans for domestic tourism as well and this would affect the hotels yet again. As with airlines, one can only wonder how AirAsia, Malindo, Firefly and MAS would be able to sustain. This is especially so when the cases have spiked in Sabah and Kedah.

Yes, this is back to square one for us yet again and for this, I feel is a bad one. This unseen virus is relentless and the reports of more asymptomatic cases and an evolution of its strain create fear yet again. If you were to Google Melbourne you would find pictures of an empty Melbourne which used to be the busy heartbeat of Victoria. This was not their first lock down or restrictions. They have eased before and just recently hoping for the best.

Some Malaysians as usual would blame the increase on the politicians but then again, do you not see the problem lies with both transport control checks and self discipline? Both of which I would dare say caused this spike. I believe that we have to beat this virus together and the government has to really review their plans and budgets going forward. The business population of Malaysia is likely to face another round of hardships which would affect employees and employers. Entrepreneurs would somehow find a way but not without setbacks and a tightening of the belt. Spurring the economy is no easy task and you would need to get the best in Malaysia to push forward. By saying so, it would mean that perhaps the current Government should consider the cryptic message and publicly made statement of PM no 7 who was an interim. He wanted to create a Unity Government.  After going through so much this year, why not?

God Bless Malaysia.