As Malaysians begin to blame politics for the country’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, pedestrians in the town Ipoh, Perak, seemed to have the appropriate response.
A photo of one Ipoh banner spray-painted with the words, “Fuck Politik! 317 kes” (“Fuck Politics! 317 cases”) trended online yesterday evening, though it has since been removed. “317 cases” referred to the number of new COVID-19 infections recorded Saturday in Malaysia.
The surge came in the midst of elections in pandemic-ravaged Sabah state, where thousands of new infections have been logged since last month. Malaysia has counted 12,381 of COVID-19 since the outbreak began, including 293 new infections added yesterday. The death toll stands at 137.
Some, like the Ipoh streetbridge artist, blamed politicians who spread the virus by refusing to isolate themselves immediately after flying into West Malaysia from Sabah. People flying in from Sabah are encouraged to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days upon return.
“Did you guys see this at the pedestrian bridge outside the Bainun Hospital in Ipoh?” @Iloveyouipoh wrote in a tweet that has been shared almost 4,000 times.
Hours after hundreds had shared the “F*ck Politics!” banner, another cropped out outside Ipoh’s Perak Stadium reading, “Rakyat jaga rakyat! Menteri jaga poket” (“Let’s take care of each other! Ministers only care about filling their pockets!”).
“Perak people are fierce,” @Amir_zulkifli91 wrote in the replies to the photo that has been shared nearly 3,000 times.
By yesterday, local police said both banners had been taken down.
“We found the banners in nearby rubbish bins,” Ipoh police spokesperson Asmadi Abdul Aziz told the press this morning. A police report has been filed but it was unclear whether an investigation would be pursued to find the culprits.
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This article, ‘F*ck Politics!’ banner in Ipoh pretty much captures Malaysia’s mood right now, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.