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War that can only be won through collective effort, responsibility

13 Aug 2020 / 11:27 H.

DISPROPORTIONATE actions against violators of standard operating procedures (SOP) will further undo whatever gains we have made in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is no surprise that a consumer group and five non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will sue the owner of a nasi kandar restaurant owner who has been identified as the index case of the Sivagangga cluster.

As rightly pointed out by the Langkawi Business Association, the violator’s negligence has caused the northern region to lose its green-zone status.

His act of breaking home quarantine caused great inconvenience to others and now targeted enhanced movement control order (Temco) had to be imposed in six areas.

Far more damaging was the halt to economic recovery by several sectors caused by this cluster.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Kedah chapter chairman Eugene Dass said up to 40 room reservations have been cancelled daily, just as domestic tourism was showing signs of picking up.

There will be little sympathy for the 57-year-old violator if the business licence of his restaurant is revoked by the Kedah government.

The RM1,000 fine imposed on him for breaking quarantine doesn’t measure up to the damage he has done to our efforts to beat the virus.

And he is not the lone culprit. There have been far too many violators being called up on social media.

The frustration of the public with these SOP violators is understandable.

They have responded by shaming the violators and pushing for tougher actions against them.

It reflects the seriousness in their commitment to effectively take on the pandemic that is costing us lives and livelihoods.

It also reaffirms the collective responsibility that the majority of us have assumed to help ensure a faster recovery and a quicker return to normalcy.

At the same time, we are also grappling with disproportionate penalties meted out to offenders.

A teenager was fined RM1,000 for supposedly pulling down his face mask momentarily while waiting on a platform for a train. Isn’t enforcement uneven when top government figures have been spotted in various photos not wearing face masks during large gatherings?

What about the organisers of the gathering at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex when former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak was found guilty of corruption in the first of several cases linked to the alleged theft of billions of ringgit from 1MDB on July 28?

Read this story in theSun’s iPaper:

War that can only be won through collective effort, responsibility

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