WHEN Kedah menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor cracked an unfunny joke about signing up to get into containers meant to store bodies of Covid-19 victims, it riled many people.
Critics let loose in reprimanding Sanusi for his insensitivity. One of them, a 61-year old man, accused him of “displaying his stupidity for all to see”.
Sanusi, who is no stranger to controversy, has since apologised for the gaffe, acknowledging that he had hurt the feelings of many.
He also said he accepted the reprimands “as part of my job”.
Yet, at the time of this writing, the elderly man and three other people had been arrested for allegedly insulting him.
This is unwarranted.
Sanusi maintains that he was innocently joking with reporters. Try telling that to the families of the people whose bodies are lined up in the morgue and piled up in containers.
Further, he believes it was nobody’s business but his and the reporters.
According to him, the reporters laughed along with him. If that’s true, it’s probably because they didn’t want to get arrested.
The remarks from the critics were a response to an insensitive and, indeed, insulting attempt at being funny.
Someone who is paid by taxpayers should not make light of tragedies whose victims are taxpayers, especially considering the sobering data Malaysians are fed with daily about the epidemic.
Knee-jerk insults, even harsh ones, in reaction to bizarre jokes are to be expected, especially from those who may have lost loved ones to the virus.
You get as good as you give.
Seasoned politicians, such as Sanusi, should have by now become immune to name calling.
As Sanusi himself has said, being reprimanded comes with the territory.
True. And so do insults in response to insults.
Sean Augustin is news editor at FMT.