Bersatu minister: Govt must focus on helping, not punishing Malaysians during pandemic

Bersatu minister: Govt must focus on helping, not punishing Malaysians during pandemic

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Duties) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof during a press conference after chairing the Central Disaster Management Committee Meeting at Bangunan Perdana Putra September 28, 2020. — Bernama pic
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Duties) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof during a press conference after chairing the Central Disaster Management Committee Meeting at Bangunan Perdana Putra September 28, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said the government’s focus should be to help the rakyat during the full-scale lockdown, instead of meting out penalties.

Malaysiakini reported the special functions minister in charge of disaster management as saying that clear directives must be provided to enforcement agencies during the movement control order (MCO).

“You do not punish the rakyat. You must facilitate first. The government has to be clear in its actions,” he said in an interview with the news portal.

Using the hypothetical situation of a person standing unmasked and alone in a field, he said it was not patent if this would be punishable under the standard operating procedures, which he said should be clarified to remove all doubt.

The Alor Gajah MP also cited the recent incident where 31 workers in Perak were fined for failing to update their health status in the MySejahtera app.

The National Security Council (NSC) later intervened and cancelled the compounds after it was cleared as a misinterpretation of the SOPs.

“I disagree with punitive measures. I told my colleagues in the Cabinet that we should not issue compound notices just because people did not update MySejahtera. That is wrong.

“We must first facilitate before we institute punitive measures. If we want to take action, it must be holistic. We must address all issues before we institute punitive measures,” he said.

Similarly Redzuan also supports the idea that those who cannot afford basic necessities during the lockdown should get government assistance, which should be implemented through a targeted approach.

“For example, in red zones where people are not allowed to leave their house for work, we can mobilise the Civil Defence Force (CDF) to distribute basic items like food and cooking gas, and such.

“In situations where the people cannot cook, then maybe we can initiate what they call Dapur Rakyat, so the people can have decent hot meals,” he said.

He echoed the sentiments expressed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad several weeks before, who suggested that public kitchens be initiated by the government for those confined at home with no money or food.

Dr Mahathir’s suggestion was supported by an NGO, which urged Redzuan to mobilise the CDF, under his ministerial portfolio as overseer of the National Disaster Management Agency.

Recently Redzuan has alleged that despite his portfolio, he has been sidelined and removed from NSC meetings on Covid-19.

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