The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough time for all, especially for those who are economically challenged.
We have just started crawling out of our homes, trying to lead an everyday life. Our transition to the endemic stage, be it via the new or old normal, has been more or less smooth.
We have recently received an alert from Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin about a possible resurgence of the virus. He is reported to have said a new wave of COVID-19 infections in Malaysia may occur within the next two or three months.
He did emphasise that his statement is not meant to cause panic but to serve as a preventive measure to control the transition to the endemic phase.
We have also been alerted to the risk of monkeypox infections from abroad.
The ongoing concern about continuous price increases for almost everything from a cup of coffee and eggs to construction costs is also affecting many segments of our society.
The reduced availability of some food items from time to time is also making the headlines. Recently there have also been reports of some petrol stations running out of stock.
There seem to be more supply chain issues cropping up on various other items, such as aspirin, cough mixtures and other medications. A parent recently expressed her distress about this to me as she could not procure medicine for her child locally and had problems sourcing it on the internet.
On top of this, there is the occasional localised power failure, water supply shutdown and flash floods that intermittently interrupt people’s daily routine.
As if these issues amongst others are not enough, in some parts of Miri City a few weeks ago in June we were hit by a severe disruption in water supply for a few days.
Considering that water is a necessity and easy access to water is a fundamental human right, the few days without it caused much hardship, distress and disruption. This was especially painful for the vulnerable in society, such as the elderly, disabled and poorer segments of society.
It was commendable that our elected assemblymen and their teams stepped forward and made a great effort to alleviate the situation. Water bottles were distributed house to house, and water tankers were placed at distribution points. Many NGOs and individuals also came out and helped. The humanitarian spirit was evident.
However, it was very disconcerting to see long lines of people with all sorts of containers at ad hoc locations waiting to receive water. Some said they felt dehumanised.
One person mentioned that if this had happened during the last state election, the result would have been different. Let us hope this level of water disruption affecting about 300,000 people does not happen again. It is rumoured GE15 is not too far away.
During this time of water disruption, social media and chat groups were understandably ablaze with condemnations of the water authority. I am sure there are many lessons to be learned for all.
We are targeting to achieve a developed state status. In that case, we need an uninterruptable water supply, not only for people but also for agriculture and industries.
It is also still common to get ‘coffee kow kow’ on tap. This must undoubtedly end. People should not rely on their expensive water filtration systems to get clean and safe drinking water. Not all can afford these systems.
Despite all these woes and challenges, we can take comfort in the fact that Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and his team have always been quick to respond to the needs of Sarawakians.
His vision for Sarawak in 2030 accommodates many of the issues and concerns mentioned.
In the meantime, as usual, we do grumble and very rightly so. Nevertheless, we get on with the humdrum of life.
The resilient nature of Sarawakians, with the support of the Sarawak government, has seen us through tough times.
I am sure we are all looking forward to the better times ahead with fewer woes and more wows!
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.