Prime minister’s comments lacked empathy.
Opposition MPs and netizens have called out Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for stating that there is no need to raise white flags because the government is providing the needy with food baskets to get them through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to reporters after visiting a food aid distribution centre in Putrajaya, Muhyiddin said “it’s okay to hang a blue flag” (in apparent reference to Perikatan Nasional’s colours) and added that he thought that “if we go to the ground, we will probably find the kitchens of homes to be full (with supplies)”.
“I think we have a delusional Prime Minister who is quite divorced from what’s happening on the ground,” said Klang MP Charles Santiago.
“I wish to remind him that there are many living in hunger, with only one meal a day in Malaysia, right now.
“That’s the reality on the ground today. Food baskets are like using band-aid when you have cancer,” added the DAP lawmaker.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Muhyiddin should be sensitive, admit his weakness and apologise if he does not want to resign over the government’s failure.
“This is about lives and the people, it’s not something to joke about.”
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, who said she has had to increase the number of food baskets her office has handed out from 50 to 150, said the additional RM300,000 MPs were recently given to purchase food baskets for needy families in their area was hardly enough.
Noting how lockdowns have severely affected incomes across the country, the PKR lawmaker said it was getting harder to identify those who need aid despite tapping into various networks of assemblymen, NGOs, apartment management bodies and other relevant associations.
“Even then, we cannot identify everyone who needs aid. If people fly the white flag, it helps us to zoom in on those who need help,” she said.
The white flag campaign is a community-driven movement whereby families can signal for assistance by raising a white flag.
Reaction on social media to Muhyddin’s comments was just as scathing, with Twitter user @DrAmarMOH suggesting that “maybe we live in different worlds?”.
Another user, @EjadJaszle, said the prime minister’s comments lacked empathy and were not based on any evidence.
Meanwhile, @sangkancilguru said Muhyiddin’s remarks about full kitchens were in reference to more affluent neighbourhoods. “Well, he meant kitchens in Bukit Damansara.” – FMT