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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Government Officials Break Stay at Home Rules

AP Photo/Mark Baker
In this Oct. 2017 photo, The New Zealand Parliament building, the Beehive on the left, with the statue of Richard Seddon, the longest-serving Prime Minister of New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand.

Stay at home orders are becoming challenging for many during this pandemic. Two government officials in Malaysia have been fined this week for violating rules, and they are far from alone.

Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister was caught in a place he wasn’t supposed to be this week, along with a local government official in the northwest part of peninsular Malaysia. They were sitting on a floor with a group of people, having lunch at a school — violating the government’s “Movement Control Order” leading to fines of about 230 U.S. dollars.

They’re not the only government officials in the country to break the law, the Deputy Rural Development Minister held a birthday party at his house earlier this month.

In both cases, offenders were exposed by photos on social media.

Malaysia’s rules are tight — not only are gatherings restricted, but only one member of a family is allowed to shop for groceries, and only one person is allowed in a car.

Earlier this month, driving of a different kind played a role in the demotion of New Zealand’s Health Minister. On the first weekend of stay at home rules, Dr. David Clark drove his family about 12 and a half miles to a particular beach — just after his boss the Prime Minister had told people to stay at home and exercise only in their local area.

Dr. Clark offered to resign. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern turned down the offer, but said she would fire him under normal circumstances.

As for his own view, Dr. Clark said, “I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me.”

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