Pic: “Bumi Kita Nyawa Kita” (Our World, Our Life)
*Covid-19: A means to defeat our common enemy*
The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH) announced yesterday that measures taken by the MoH in response to the Covid-19 outbreak have entered the “late containment” stage, going to show that the situation within the country is at a worrying stage. The first reported Covid-19 death in Malaysia, announced by the MoH, further warrants concern amongst Malaysians.
In addition to that, the 14-day Movement Restriction Order announced by the government makes it clear that Malaysians should not take this pandemic lightly. This order that has been announced was made in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.
In this time of grief and anxiety, many Malaysians may wonder what wisdom we could possibly stand to gain from the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, following this ongoing pandemic, Malaysians are starting to realise that Covid-19 is in fact the common enemy. Fighting a common enemy requires unity in order to successfully defeat this enemy.
In the “Bumi Kita Nyawa Kita” (Our World, Our Life) forum organised by ABIM which brought religious leaders together to discuss climate change, I mentioned that it seems as though we may need aliens to come to earth and destroy it before we decide to unite in our fight against these aliens. What I meant by ‘aliens’ are entities that cause damage to our planet, such as climate change, that occurs as a result of our own reckless behaviour.
In taking a closer look at the Covid-19 issue, I am optimistic that today, Malaysians have united to fight this common enemy that we face.
Today on social media, we see devotees of various religions praying together according to their faiths for this pandemic to be eradicated. This is not just any prayer to defeat a foe, but it is a clear symbol that Malaysians, regardless of their beliefs, share a singular love and compassion - a love and compassion for their country and this earth.
These sentiments unite us, regardless of our faith or the colour of our skin, in being patient and strong in taking the right and effective steps in eradicating this pandemic.
Our enemy, Covid-19, has brought with it other enemies. Among them, making everyday life difficult for Malaysians. Malaysians are now facing economic turmoil, a loss of income as a result of unpaid leave from the movement restriction, loss of jobs as a result of business and service sectors experiencing a decline in transactions, etc. Nevertheless, in facing these problems, we can see that Malaysians of all backgrounds have expressed their care and concern for those who are affected.
They have called for the government to expand its initiative in providing aid to those affected without taking into account their racial identity so that those affected and their families can live in stability.
Finally, following the Covid-19 pandemic that is worsening, we no longer hear about race politics, a card that political leaders frequently used prior to this, which is an irresponsible and deliberate play to lead Malaysians according to sentiments that end up getting them burnt.
Nevertheless, the main question when this pandemic is eradicated and when scientists have found a vaccine for it would be whether Malaysians will go back to being divided because our common enemy is no more? Or would we then need to create a new virus as a common enemy to unite us once more?
To conclude, we need to understand that the Covid-19 pandemic is an experience that has lessons to offer us. It is not only an enemy that needs to be defeated but it is a common enemy that has appeared as a means to remove the main enemy which is the division amongst Malaysians and racism that exists among us.
Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz
President of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) & Coordinator for Projek Wawasan Rakyat (PoWR)