JOHOR BAHRU: Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, popularly generally known as Neelofa, and her husband Muhammad Haris Muhammad Ismail (higher generally known as PU Riz) are in style celebrity influencers.
Yet in current months, they’ve been within the information for the fallacious causes, and now made notorious for continued breaches of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) below the Malaysia’s Movement Control Orders (MCO).
From a marriage ceremony that clearly violated social distancing necessities, a questionable “work trip” to Langkawi, to crossing state traces for a carpet procuring journey and internet hosting a household gathering on the primary day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, they not solely dedicated a number of infringements but in addition blithely posted these on social media.
This week, they pleaded not responsible to prices of failing to register with the MySejahtera tracing app at the carpet shop in Negeri Sembilan. Police introduced that they might not be urgent prices for crossing state borders, on the recommendation of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Immediately after the listening to, netizens identified that Neelofa didn’t put on a masks below her niqab on the Seremban Magistrate Court as required by the COVID-19 ordinances. Investigation into this newest saga has begun.
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CELEBRITY SLIP UPS?
Unfortunately, Neelofa and PU Riz are not the one celebrities breaking COVID-19 guidelines. While early on within the pandemic, Malaysian celebrities had come collectively to remind Malaysians to abide by the SOPs, many have been seen blatantly ignoring them.
Police have began investigations into Siti Nurhaliza, one in every of Malaysia’s hottest singers, for holding an occasion to commemorate the delivery of her new child child. Several of her visitors and different dignitaries have been reported to have crossed state traces to attend the occasion.
This disregard for guidelines transcend the poor behaviour of some people and appear to be considerably commonplace.
Over the previous few months, quite a few Instagram influencers have been fined for offering false information of their journey functions whereas others have been fined for Hari Raya video greetings with out a masks.
A style present by native model Leeyanarahman Collection in Kuala Lumpur held in March confirmed many style present attendees with out their masks on.
Anger in the direction of celebrity breaches of SOPs has bubbled over. A nationwide petition to place Neelofa and her husband in jail gathered 25,000 signatures in lower than 36 hours, however the calls for embrace a halting of the double-standards in regulation enforcement and understandably so.
On the identical day in April that Neelofa, her husband and her relations have been fined a complete of RM60,000 (US$14,500) for holding a marriage with out social distancing and masks, a road vendor in Kelantan was fined RM50,000 for holding his burger stall open past 10pm, sparking angry comparisons. No wonder Neelofa rapidly provided to pay the burger vendor’s superb.
The frustration over the double requirements additionally appear to revolve round a perceived greater burden of proof for celebrities. Most celebrities and dignitaries caught on digital camera breaching SOPs are known as in for investigations earlier than they are charged.
Some common residents, nonetheless, are given instant summons on the spot properly past their monetary means with out the necessity for additional investigations. Some have hung out in jail due to their lack of ability to pay the superb or attraction in opposition to the fees.
Do these personalities suppose they are above the regulation? Do they not know they’re breaking the regulation?
READ: Commentary: Mixed messaging, misinformation in Malaysia are complicating compliance with COVID-19 rules
It may be a number of dangerous eggs however it’s arduous to shake off the sensation of injustice. While extraordinary Malaysians are made to remain dwelling, celebrities couldn’t solely stroll round with out their masks, they may additionally maintain occasions just like the Iftar get together on Apr 29 in a lodge in Kuala Lumpur.
Worse, celebrities appear overly fixated on how the MCO will affect them and are unbothered with the huge challenges confronted by the nation thrown up by the pandemic.
Kamal Adli and Uqasha Senrose, one other celebrity couple, introduced in end-March plans they plan to have three wedding ceremony celebrations. They mentioned they hope that SOP restrictions could be eased by then. Netizens have been fast to level out that they need to hope COVID-19 numbers come down as a substitute.
DISPLAYS OF EXTRAVAGANCE
Indeed, probably the most painful realisation is how extravagantly these celebrities stay whereas the remainder of the nation suffers.
Many on social media have identified how the brazen shows of wealth and luxurious are offensive at a time when others have misplaced jobs, are struggling sharp drops of earnings, or are unwell.
Given that quite a few these celebrities faucet Islamic hijabi tendencies to interact their followers, there have additionally been questions on how pious they really are and whether or not they are the kind of position fashions folks ought to be trying as much as.
Some have identified too that Neelofa’s partner, PU Riz, is an Islamic preacher. Yet, the couple’s demonstrations of self-indulgence and outright disregard of SOP breaches run counter to the moderation and honesty anticipated of spiritual spokespersons.
READ: Commentary: Frustrated with tightened COVID-19 restrictions, Johor residents hope this MCO is the last
FOCUSING ON FIGHTING THE PANDEMIC
While celebrities who frequently flout SOP restrictions with no regard for the risks of COVID-19 have come below big criticism, there are a handful of followers who appear to unwaveringly help their Insta-heroes.
Neelofa, for instance, continues to have an enormous following on Instagram, with some calling her a “strong girl” for overcoming the controversy round her. That too is problematic if such behaviours are setting the requirements for younger Malaysians and sending the fallacious sign in regards to the seriousness with which COVID-19 guidelines ought to be handled with.
When artistes preserve breaking the regulation with impunity and appear to get away with mere slaps on their wrists, public frustration can gas resistance in opposition to the foundations and divert wanted consideration on breaking the chain of transmission.
This lack of deal with combating the pandemic is much more harmful now that Malaysia’s new day by day an infection numbers have reached 6,000 instances, with ICU beds rapidly filling up and the variety of lifeless rising.
Hospitals in Kedah have already declared they’ll not enable power sufferers into the ICU. A hospital in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, has even arrange a particular air-conditioned tent simply to retailer our bodies of the lifeless.
The state of affairs is more and more dire and Malaysians must deal with the pandemic to cut back its unfold, as a substitute of getting distracted by incessant celebrity dramas.
Celebrities like Neelofa can also do their half – by obeying the regulation.
Dr Serina Rahman, Visiting Fellow on the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, writes from Johor the place she’s in lockdown with the remainder of Malaysia.