We have a swollen-headed Chief Minister, says Penang Gerakan Youth Legal & Public Complaints Bureau Chief Jason Loo

JasonLoo 20151006 rabies BIDear Mr. CM,

At times, we read a lot of comments posted by ‘expert’ keyboard warriors posted in Facebook giving their thoughts on certain issues, of course some are paradox.

In the latest Rabies’ issue, lots of the Chief Minister’s fans defended his decision in carrying out mass culling of stray dogs in the state.

According to these CM’s fans, whoever objected the mass culling of stray dogs are those irrational dog lovers who neglected the danger of Rabies and ignored the greater public interest. These CM fans even challenged those who objected the culling order to go ahead and adopt all the stray dogs in the streets to prevent killings.

It is obvious that supporting the culling order has nothing to do with Rabies, and those who support the culling order simply just hate the stray dogs.

It is obvious that there is no association between culling the stray dogs and rabies. Supporting the culling orders not because of rabies but because they don’t like stray dogs.

On the other hand, those who oppose the culling order may not even be dog lovers. In fact, they may have clearer picture of the Rabies’ disease than any of us, and that’s why they protested against the culling order.

Why? It’s simple. In this Rabies crisis, the ultimate point is to get the best solution to overcome the crisis, and the real question is whether killing all the stray dogs will serve the purpose?

This time, the Penang Rabies outbreak has unveiled the true colors of our beloved Chief Minister.

No doubt, the outbreak gave the Penang state Government a very good opportunity to begin campaigns to instill awareness of the perennial stray dogs’ problem as well as the abandoned dogs issue within the city. When all Penangites are concerned with this Rabies outbreak, the state government has more reasons to learn how to deal with animal issues in a civilized way. Moreover, the State Government should also introduce relevant animal protection policies to reduce the stray dogs’ population in the future.

However, the LGE-led State Government failed to do this.

As an almighty Chief Minister, one should consult the Malaysian veterinary and health experts; one should take initiative to meet and talk to those overseas professional organisations (including the World Health Organisation) for second opinion and assistance; one should study how other countries which suffered from Rabies tackled the outbreak and learn from their mistakes; one should also analyse all different views and make the best decision for this incident, and STICK with it.

Unfortunately, in reality, LGE’s decision to cull the stray dogs was certainly made in haste, without sufficient consultation. By over-exaggerating the condition, LGE also created the unnecessary fears among the Penangites. Despite some local NGOs and overseas experts approaching him for better ideas and solutions, and offering to provide free vaccinations, LGE pushed all the blame to the Health and Veterinary Services Department and even threatened the Rakyat to vote for Barisan Nasional if they do not fancy his policies. His responses in this matter have deliberately confused the solutions to solve the Rabies outbreak and stray dogs’ problem.

It’s clear that the CM is not willing to change his decision, despite some world class organizations giving proof that killing the strays is literary “INEFFECTIVE” in eradicating rabies. When a leader makes a mistake, he does not admit and improve from it, and further threatens the voters, this only shows how irresponsible, arrogant and narrow-minded he is. This also reveals the truth that he treats those who are not aligned with him as his political enemy.

I think personal dignity should not be a concern when a leader makes a decisive policy decision. In this incident; the state government should do more research; study precedents from other countries; work together with the Federal Government; take initiative to approach animals’ welfare NGOs; ask for assistance from the WHO; combine all advises and make the best decision.

Sadly, the CM failed to do all these and on the other hand, diverted the attention by claiming he loves Penangites and prioritizes the public interest, thus he kills the stray dogs to protect his people. The state government shouldn’t make decisions that please a certain number of its people, i.e. the populist philosophy. Populism is not the practical solution during a crisis.

If the Chief Minister really wishes to solve the Rabies issue, he should have made efforts to calm Penangites by explaining how to monitor and prevent Rabies outbreak instead of mass culling. He shouldn’t have confused all of us between the stray dogs’ problem and Rabies and insisted with his earlier mistakenly advised decision to rationalize it.

While portraying himself like a populist leader who cares for the public interest, he is indeed a narrow-minded dictator who only cares for personal dignity.

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