OPINIONS

Covid-19 - toxic religiosity and irresponsible Malaysians

S Thayaparan

24 Mac 2020, 10:57 malam

Updated 10 d ago

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“At this point in time, there are still gatherings going on despite the movement control order”

From the Covid-19 frontlines

COMMENT | There is this clip of an Astro Awani programme where a talking head is making the point that the tabligh movement was a convenient scapegoat for the public – the Seri Petaling incident was a flashpoint – adding that political turmoil when the cluster first burst exacerbated a distrust of the system in general.

The problem with this kind of politically-correct nonsense is that it ignores the reality that some people have always been sceptical and antagonistic of the religious imperatives of the state. This is nothing new. The issue with the Seri Petaling tabligh gathering is the obstinacy, arrogance and toxic religiosity of members who do not want to be tested - and indeed believe that they owe no responsibility to the rest of society.

The most recent case, as reported in the press, was of a man suspected of having the virus and putting the lives of frontliners and civilians in danger because he did not reveal that he had attended the Seri Petaling gathering. Not only that he was aggressive, disrespectful and had the temerity to imply that the lives of all those in the safe zone were in the hands of God, even though it was he that was putting them in danger. “…our time is destined by God, our death is only upon His command”.

The fact of the matter is that the authorities have gone out of their way to make it easier for those who attended the Seri Petaling gathering to get tested without any sanctions from the state. This extends to those who may have been here illegally or do not have the requisite travel documents.

I am relieved that the state security apparatus, after numerous warnings, is attempting to hunt these people down because they pose an existential threat to the rest of the country. It is misleading to claim people are looking for a scapegoat or bogeyman...

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