As of Sunday, March 22 (today), the government has called in the “aid” of the military to assist in enforce the Movement Restriction Order. Many of us are relieved, because it does appear in a lot of places, the police approach of telling people to go home and maintain social distancing isn’t working. Getting people to understand the message and abide by the rule is incredibly important. Honestly I’m even more disappointed than I usually am with Malaysians lackadaisical attitude toward this, because of all the times you want to practice civil disobedience, this isn’t it.
As a citizen, I welcome the additional enforcement for now, but a small part of me is worried, because this is also one of those things that if unchecked, could prove even more disastrous for us in the long run. We have no idea how long this movement restriction will last, and if, at the end, it does and we try to resume a semblance of normalcy, the military presence will just be accepted as “the way things are”. We’ve seen this happen in other countries, and the thought of this being the norm here (along with roadblocks, checkpoints, and the requirement to produce “papers” for traveling) is very, very frightening.
We can only hope that our efforts will work, that the “curve will flatten”, that we don’t overwhelm our medical infrastructure, and that we can prevent more deaths from happening. And after that, for our servicemen and women to be tasked back to their regular duties, because having a continuous military presence as the new normal is a horrible future to contemplate.