Government needs to lead by example in pandemic fight

Andrew Lo

KUCHING: The announcement to revoke the state of Emergency has left Malaysians, especially workers, with a sense of despair, says Andrew Lo.

“For ordinary workers and simple folk eking out a living in this Covid ravished times, it is with despair to realise that our leaders are so afraid of putting before parliament the declaration of a state of Emergency and kept the revocation from every Malaysian for five days.

“Workers are in the front line fighting the pandemic as healthcare workers, law enforcers and those in the essential and exempted services. They are working under tremendous stress and high risk of being infected with the virus,” added the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary.

Lo, who is also Sarawak Bank Employees Union chief executive officer, noted that as workers, one of their fundamental obligations and responsibilities was to follow workplace rules and regulations and policy of employers otherwise they would be dismissed for major misconduct.

“Until and unless our government ministers and their cohorts step up and demonstrate leadership by example and put the law at the forefront, instead of hiding behind it, adherence to the rule of law will erode so much that even workplace discipline will be compromised.”

According to him, MTUC had issued a statement in May that wrote a piece that the government must lead by example in the war against Covid-19.

“In two months since then, the pandemic has reached emergency proportions despite the declaration of a state of Emergency, ostensibly to fight the pandemic.

“Now we have the announcement in Parliament on July 26 that the Cabinet has revoked the emergency on July 21, days before Parliament reconvene for the very purpose of debate in the emergency laws.

“As of now, I will not be surprised if the workers call for a general strike.”