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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
If Not Now, When?: There Is No Option But Reforms
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
If Not Now, When?: There Is No Option But Reforms

Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, in The Times of India (February 16, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Pradeep Gaurs / Shutterstock.com)

If Not Now, When?: There Is No Option But Reforms

Many commentators complain that, with the pandemic-stricken economy “in the ICU”, now is exactly the wrong time to push painful reform. But if not now, when? Few nations ever accept harsh medicine unless they are forced to by a crisis. Reformers come out better in the end. Today, developed nations are offering stimulus packages to ease the shock of the pandemic, but they are running up debts that will slow growth in the future.

Meanwhile, India is one of the many emerging countries that, lacking the funds for more stimulus, are instead pushing reforms which are likely to boost productivity and growth. India’s reforms encompass the controversial agricultural reforms, the new privatization push, and the broad shift in spending away from subsidies and other freebies to capital investment.

Indonesia’s reforms are as ambitious, including looser labor laws, tax cuts, deregulation, and most recently a push to open up the financial sector. The Philippines lowered its corporate taxes from among the highest to among the lowest in Asia, and will emerge more competitive. Brazil, a chronic over-spender, has imposed caps on its deficit and is working to meet them by downsizing a wildly generous pension system and streamlining bureaucracy by making it easier to fire public workers and cut their benefits.

By comparison, there is nothing particularly harsh about how the Indian government is treating its patient. When the sugar rush of stimulus fades, the effect will not be felt equally. Nations that exercised restraint and prioritized economic reforms are likely to see their growth prospects continue to improve. Those that spend heavily to ease the pain are likely to pay for it in higher debts and slower growth. This was the lesson of 2008 and every major global crisis: Seize the opportunity to reform, or it will never happen.


Building An Anti-Beijing Alliance Will Only Make The G7 Weaker
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Building An Anti-Beijing Alliance Will Only Make The G7 Weaker

Sun Chenghao, professor at the Institute of American Institute, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in Global Times (December 19, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: G7 UK)

Building An Anti-Beijing Alliance Will Only Make The G7 Weaker

The British government issued invitations to India, South Korea and Australia to participate in the G7 summit in 2021 and form a so-called "Democracy 10" (D10). Although there has been no mention of China, many are speculating that responding to the “China challenge” will be a key issue addressed at the summit.

The G7, which is dominated by the US and Europe, is full of differences which cannot be resolved, even with Joe Biden taking office. The differences will become unavoidable challenges.

First, the US and Europe have completely different perceptions of the world situation. The Trump administration’s judgment of the international situation was extremely pessimistic and perceived the world as facing fierce economic and political challenges. Europe, however, still optimistically believes in the benefits of international cooperation.

Second, there is an inconsistent view of security. The Trump administration listed China and Russia as strategic competitors. Europe, meanwhile, believes the main security threats facing the world are transnational issues such as terrorism, infectious diseases, and climate change.

Third, the US emphasizes hard power while Europe stresses soft power. Biden supports strengthening the US military. Europe, however, believes that it should exert regulatory power in international affairs rather than pursue military force.

The main objective of the US is to maintain its hegemony, while Europe is more concerned about the peaceful environment needed for its own development, upholding its values and taking care of the concerns and interests of its allies. On the issue of competition with China, these two approaches clash. The three Indo-Pacific countries invited by the UK to the G7 summit also have their own unique views, making it even more difficult for this improvised alliance to form an “anti-China” consensus.


The Significance of the Investment Agreement with the EU
Thursday, February 11, 2021
The Significance of the Investment Agreement with the EU

Wang Yiwei, Professor, School of International Studies, Renmin University of China, in Guancha (December 31, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: European Council President)

The Significance of the Investment Agreement with the EU

The China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) has finally been reached, illustrating three key points:

First, the completion of the negotiations means that China-EU cooperation has transformed from a rivalry in the industrialized era to a broad partnership in the post-carbon and digital age. The agreement will help European companies better enter the world's fastest-growing market and participate in fair competition. It will also provide the same guarantee for Chinese companies operating in the EU.

Second, the agreement shows that ideology can be a productive force. The EU is aware that ideology in the traditional sense has not brought substantial benefits. Instead, the EU has become a victim of confrontation between China and the US and between Russia and the US. Drawing lessons from history, China and the EU eliminated ideological interference, cooperated pragmatically and hedged against global uncertainty. Furthermore, ideological differences can be resolved through conversation rather than confrontation. 

Third, the agreement illustrates that while both China and the EU both respect relations with the US, they will neither wait for nor be subject to the US. The EU desires to be a geopolitical player rather than merely a chessboard. The EU has chosen to reduce its dependence on American technology and work with China to develop future multilateral investment and trade rules.

While the European side initially attempted to push various demands on China, an agreement was successfully reached. This shows that the EU has become more and more pragmatic in the face of the strategic anxiety produced by global changes. The end of the Trump era combined with the completion of the China-EU investment agreement, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have created some much needed optimism for a global economy suffering under the strains of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


States Must Not Clamp Down on Free Speech in Fight Against Fake News
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
States Must Not Clamp Down on Free Speech in Fight Against Fake News

Ameya Bokil, Srujana Bej and Nikitak Sonavane of the Bhopal-based Criminal Justice & Police Accountability Project in The Indian Express (February 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Sarabjit Singh/Tribune India)

States Must Not Clamp Down on Free Speech in Fight Against Fake News

The Covid-19 vaccine being administered by the government of India raises safety and efficacy concerns, stemming from a rushed approval process. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended that all state governments pursue criminal action against individuals and organizations spreading “unfounded” or “misleading” rumors that “create doubt” about the vaccine’s efficacy.

Given the government’s lack of proactive transparency on safety issues with respect to the vaccines’ approval, public scrutiny serves an important function. The evolution of a nebulous category of “fake news” has become the bedrock of curtailment of free speech. Where restrictions are vague, overbroad, and punitive, they create a chilling effect on free speech and have been held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

A report has documented 55 instances of targeting of journalists during the lockdown. State governments have used the garb of epidemic disease control to prosecute persons for reporting on mismanagement of the pandemic, corruption and the lack of state support for migrant workers and others affected by the pandemic. The only purpose of these “fake news” laws has been to advance narratives of effective governance during the pandemic.

No democratic government can be considered effective if it fails to be transparent and accountable. Effective government function necessarily requires adequately engaging with and scientifically responding to both valid criticism and unscientific misconceptions to build robust public discourse. When criminal law is relied on to place gags on valid questions and there is a failure to communicate all necessary information to the public, the government violates the principle of informed consent – a crucial tenet of healthcare. “Minimum government, maximum governance” has unfortunately translated into minimum government transparency and maximum public penalization.


Scenarios for the US Dollar Under Biden
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Scenarios for the US Dollar Under Biden

Haryo Kuncoro, professor of economics at the State University of Jakarta School of Economics and research director at the Socio-Economic and Educational Business Institute, in The Jakarta Post (January 27, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Scenarios for the US Dollar Under Biden

US President Joe Biden’s treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, has emphasized her commitment not to interfere with the US dollar. Her statement has given rise to various interpretations. It could be an initial signal that Biden's economic policies will tend to be pro-market and that market forces will determine the value of the dollar. 

Yellen has probably already anticipated the second interpretation. The commencement of vaccination in the US raises optimism about a faster-than-expected economic recovery in the second half of this year. This has triggered discourse about the US central bank gradually reducing its bond-buying program to sustain the nation’s economic recovery. The two policies above, if they are really implemented, will undoubtedly shake the global market. 

The first-round impact will work directly on the commodity markets. The volume of trade will fluctuate in accordance with the dynamics of US dollar. If the dollar strengthens, exporters will suffer, and importers will benefit.

How about Indonesia? If both US economic policy scenarios prove correct, Indonesia will face a flight of foreign capital, which in the short term will depreciate the rupiah. Imports of raw materials, equipment and machinery will shrink, which will further affect production capacity. If the US economy quickly recovers, Indonesia can seize export opportunities and offset the pressure for the rupiah’s depreciation. 

Indonesian products can fill the role of Chinese products that are subject to high tariffs. Indonesia's share of non-oil and gas exports to the US ranks second after China. In another scenario, Chinese products that should be destined for the US will be transferred to other countries, including Indonesia. In addition, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America are wide open to become potential markets for Indonesian products. 


A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market

Randy David, sociologist and journalist, in his Public Lives column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (January 31, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Stephan Mosel)

A Populist Revolt in the Stock Market

It has been a crazy week in Wall Street, where the entire financial services industry of the United States, including the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, is located. The place has become the epicenter of a populist revolt being waged by small “amateur” retail investors against those they perceive to be the grand manipulators of the financial markets – hedge fund managers, brokerage firms, gigantic investment houses, and their enablers in the mainstream media.

These insurrectionists of the stock market are mobilizing an army that is driven not mainly by profit but by a passionate resentment against the rapacious few that make money at the expense of everyone else. Their most hated targets are the so-called “short-sellers” – professional investors that make their money from driving down the value of certain stocks by dumping them and then buying them back at a lower price.

Mostly young people who have basically known no other reality but that of the digital world, the stock markets’ new warriors are leveraging their mastery of the internet to challenge the power of the entrenched financial oligarchy. It is easy to mock this development as nothing but the fanciful protest of a digital generation that is out to remake the global order using the virtual weapons at their disposal. 

I am not so sure. If one can imagine a global anarchist movement rising up against entrenched hierarchies – brought together and empowered by an online communication system, and able to operate synchronously across time zones, geographic boundaries, and functional domains – it’s not difficult to see in this stock market revolt a portent of something more encompassing and radical than the “reset” of the capitalist system that the Davos thinkers have in mind.


Understanding the Low Birth Rate
Monday, February 1, 2021
Understanding the Low Birth Rate

Kim Se-jeong, counsel at SSW Pragmatic Solutions, in JoongAng Sunday (January 9, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Hippopx)

Understanding the Low Birth Rate

This is the first year since the start of the national registration system that the death rate has exceeded that of births. The birth rate in Korea for the past two years has been 0.9, lowest among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. It is clear that Korean women do not want, or are unable, to have children and society must try to understand the cause of the problem to solve it.

In a Korean society, there is incredible pressure to stick to “normal” family structures, consisting of a formal union between a man and woman. Every other form of family such as single parenthood, divorced or informal cohabitation is deemed inappropriate and subject to prejudice. Imagine a person seeking employment having to make known to a prospective employer that he/she is not married but has a child. The immense pressure and opprobrium would discourage child-rearing despite the nation’s desperate need for more children.

Even in “normal” families with children, child-rearing is no easy task and is especially cumbersome in a society built on competition and conformity. According to the ministry of Health and Welfare, there were over 40,000 reported cases of child abuse and 42 related child deaths in 2019 alone. Korean society obviously not only needs more children but also a better system to take care of existing children and their parents.

Considering all this, it is outrageous to find “advice” on the Seoul Center for Pregnancy website for pregnant women to be considerate of their husbands’ lack of cooking skills when the mothers go to hospital and to brace themselves for losing weight after giving birth. It really is no surprise that Korean women are not having babies.


The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party

Chen Fu, professor and Director of the General Education Center at National Dong Hwa University, in China Times (December 30, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Solomon203)

The Government Must Guarantee the Freedom to Criticize the Ruling Party

Yazhou Zhoukan (“Asia Weekly”) is a Hong Kong-based magazine read by Chinese intellectuals all over the world. While mainland authorities have banned subscriptions, it has always taken a middle path approach, respecting the “one country, two systems” principle, even with the challenging political situation in Hong Kong. It has tried to present both points of view on cross-strait issues.

The latest issue has generated controversy as it depicts Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in royal garb from the Qin Dynasty, smiling on a throne, with her administration characterized as a “dictatorship”. This has prompted a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman to claim that the publication is a mouthpiece for the Beijing government. Is this claim true?

Yazhou Zhoukan uses the words "Republic of China" in news reports without quotation marks. This alone shows that the mainland authorities respect Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and press. The DPP, however, continues to claim that the media is actively suppressing Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. Ironically, in the latest issue, Yazhou Zhoukan interviews DPP politicians to discuss Tsai’s governance. Yet it is considered pro-Communist. 

Under the more-and-more restricted political environment in Taiwan, criticizing the government has become dangerous. As a result, most intellectuals have been silenced. Not only has the Chung T’ien Television News channel been shut down, but from February 1 this year, the publishing of books authorized by mainland publishers will first need to be approved by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture. The DPP cannot allow people in Taiwan the freedom to criticize only the Communist Party of China. They must also guarantee the freedom to criticize the DPP. 


Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward
Monday, January 25, 2021
Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 199, in Lianhe Zaobao (December 30, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Lisa Ferdinando/ US Department of Defense)

Vaccine Multilateralism is the Best Way forward

With Switzerland, Singapore co-chairs the Friends of the COVAX Facility initiative. COVAX is the Global Coronavirus Vaccine Global Access, a multilateral mechanism led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure the fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. So far, 190 countries and economies have signed up, and nearly two billion vaccine doses have been obtained. The US and Russia have not joined.

Singapore has supported this initiative from the very beginning, contributing US$5 million (S$6.64 million) in December. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has encouraged countries to focus on establishing partnerships to promote vaccine multilateralism as this is essential for coordinating international response plans. Singapore looks forward to cooperating with the European Commission and like-minded countries, as well the WHO and other partners, not only in developing vaccines but also in distributing them to all countries fairly and quickly.

The emergence of vaccine multilateralism is a response to vaccine nationalism. The People's Vaccine Alliance (a coalition of organizations and activists, coordinated by Oxfam and UNAIDS, aimed at campaigning for a “people’s vaccine” for Covid-19 that would be freely available to everyone everywhere as a global common good) has warned that rich countries are hoarding excessive amounts of vaccines, several times more than their citizens. The population of wealthy countries accounts for only 14 percent of the world's population yet they now have 53 percent of the most promising vaccines, with Canada, the US and the UK holding the most doses. Meanwhile, in the world’s 67 poorest countries, only 10 percent of the population are expected to be vaccinated before the end of 2021.

Covid-19 is a common enemy of mankind and only when the entire population of the world is immune can everyone be safe. The facts show that vaccine multilateralism is the best way forward.


The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain

Yang Sung-hee, editor at JoongAng Ilbo Plus, in JoongAng Sunday (December 26, 2020)

The Shameless Governing Class Sows Division for Political Gain

Perhaps history is but a repetition of people in hardship scapegoating each other. This psychology may help explain why conspiracy theories flourish at the turn of every crisis and disaster. In the US alone, there is a wide variety of allegations ranging from Bill Gates purposely spreading the coronavirus so that he can profit from vaccines to microchips secretly being implanted in serum. Despite the craziness, a whopping 30 percent of Americans believe in such stories. This may be just about humans trying to survive an unreasonable crisis.  

Be that as it may, for ordinary citizens, the responsibility to ensure a cohesive functioning society falls on the people of governing class and the media. In a crisis, they have a duty to calm the general population’s uneasiness and fears and work together to bring back reason and a sense of normalcy. 

On the streets these days, however, it has become all too easy to overhear outrageous conspiracy theories centered on politicians and probably spread by politicians to serve their ambitions. People talk and believe that Covid-19 has been purposely left to spread so that the long-awaited timing of the vaccines will coincide with a by-election. Others believe that social-distancing measures will be tightened only after the president’s artist son finishes his exhibition. 

More outrageous than these theories is the shamelessness of the governing class in using division and scapegoating for political gain. The media exaggerate unfounded theories to gain traffic. The political class uses the crisis to defame others and score political points. These are all sad examples of how our system is failing miserably. The thriving coronavirus politics is more tiring than the pandemic.


The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy

Leila de Lima, lawyer, human-rights activist and Senator in police detention since 2017, in Rappler (January 18, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Blink O’fanaye)

The US Capitol Siege: Lessons From An Embattled Democracy

For those who idealized the United States, including Americans themselves who truly believed that America is the greatest nation in the world, the events of January 6 were shockingly unimaginable.

For those who see through the facade of “America the Great” and see the brewing discontent underneath that has gone unaddressed for decades and even centuries, this is but the culmination of the hypocrisy behind American domestic and foreign policies. But this is more than a case of a nation getting its comeuppance. The truth is that every nation – no matter how prosperous or destitute it is – would be built upon the different experiences of different peoples. In the case of the United States, for every millionaire, there are a million who do not have the same economic and social security.

I, for one, am rooting for the United States as always. It may not be as united or as great as it projects itself to be, but it is nonetheless closer to greatness than authoritarian regimes for one simple reason: it has created a space for people to be able to live with dignity. That it is not yet perfect, or not as inclusive as it could be at the moment, is no reason to throw away the ideals it fights and stands for: Democracy, Rule of Law, and Human Rights. In fact, it is more reason to keep striving for improvement and inclusiveness.

I will not make the mistake of counting the United States out. If there is a democratic country that has the capacity to restore balance and become truly great in the truest sense of the word, in the face of so many challenges both within and without, it would be the United States. And the free world would be in a better place for it.


Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy

Javed Anwer, technology editor, India Today, in Daily O (January 8, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Zuckerberg Did Not Ban Trump To Save Democracy

It is no coincidence that on the day US lawmakers formalized the election win of Joe Biden, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a ban on Donald Trump. It seemed like a principled tech CEO standing up to stop the abuse of his platform. But the reality is different. It is a move as self-serving and odious as it can be.

The ban on Trump has nothing to do with saving democracy, as Zuckerberg says. It is a volte-face, an attempt to change colors before the new US administration takes the power and goes after Facebook. For years, Zuckerberg and Facebook turned a blind eye to everything the ultra-right and Trumpists did. It allowed them to communicate, to meet together, run campaigns that have no place in a civilized society, and amplify hate posts. All in the name of free speech. Facebook allowed and defended its actions again and again when its platforms were used to distribute misinformation and fake news.

Facebook is all about convenience and profit. Like other tech companies, Facebook might have built its empire on grand words – bringing people together, free speech, community and all that nonsense – but it too is hollow like the rest of the Silicon Valley. It is not about principles. It never is. This is the reason why in India Facebook gladly allows some politicians to say whatever they want, even if these lead to the poisoning of society or harm to people. The company will continue to play pal with regimes, even if they use Facebook in a way it should not be – that is, until the winds change. And then Facebook and Zuckerberg bend the way the wind is blowing.


The state must protect tenants during emergencies
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
The state must protect tenants during emergencies

Sonam Tshering, lawyer, in Kuensel (January 16, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

The state must protect tenants during emergencies

The news of possible evictions and an increase in house rents particularly with no sign that the pandemic lockdown will be eased is a grave concern. The slogan of “stay home, stay safe” would be defeated unless the government immediately suspends evictions including the issuance of removal notices, threats of imposing late payment penalties, or increasing rents. The government went as far as suspending some laws such as pay-revision measures. His Majesty the King’s waiver of loan interest did not seem to have any positive impact on tenants.

Many countries issued a temporary ban on residential evictions to combat the pandemic’s economic effects, anticipating that many tenants will not be able to pay their rent. Our government so far has remained reluctant to take any action against landlords for political or other reasons.

When it becomes impossible to pay the rents due to state-imposed lockdowns or restrictions, failure to pay rents can be excused at least till such tenants can resume earning income. If landlords evict tenants by force or enter without permission, the tenant may report the matter to the police, possibly charge their landlords for harassment, assault, trespass, and other relevant provisions.

The government must understand that fighting against this pandemic does not mean mere lockdowns or threats of incarceration or testing or imposition of numerous restrictions depriving people of their livelihood. Since the fundamental right to livelihood has been deprived by the state, the state has the responsibility to protect these groups. With no indication that the lockdown will be eased any time soon, the least the government can do is immediately to issue orders suspending any form of eviction until the current situation normalizes.


Landlords Too May Be Hurting
Monday, January 18, 2021
Landlords Too May Be Hurting

Yang Jong-gon, journalist, in Seoul Economic Daily (December 15, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Jens-Olaf Walter)

Landlords Too May Be Hurting

The “benevolent landlord campaign” was started to encourage rich landlords to play their part in the pandemic by reducing or eliminating rent payment. Although the idea was conceived by the government to promote voluntary goodwill, it was not difficult to imagine how this could further divide people by pointing the finger at a group of “greedy” people. 

The truth is not all landlords are fabulously wealthy. In fact, there are many who funded their properties with loans, and given the ongoing recession and closures, it is not difficult to imagine their own financial strain. Closures of businesses lead to financial losses for property owners. Covid-19 does not discriminate. Everyone bleeds, whether they own or rent. 

To add fuel to the voluntary campaign, the non-abiding landlords may now face the risk of becoming outright criminals as the authorities are proposing to force a halving or even an elimination of rent payments altogether. If the goal is to help those in need, one might ask why not also help the landlords in distress. To ensure fairness, at the very least, they must also be offered an extended timeline for loan and interest payments. 

Favoring tenants’ concerns over those of landlords may be popular, but what is popular may not be fair. Before playing favorites among its constituents, the government must remember the risk of further dividing the public in this time when more mutual support and social cohesion are desperately needed.


Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion
Monday, January 18, 2021
Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion

Tharindu Dananjaya Weerasinghe, senior university lecturer, in The Island (January 13, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Vlog Inc on YouTube)

Cremation Or Burial: A Choice Made By Neither Politics Nor Religion

There are many religious, social and cultural rituals and customs associated with death. We know that they are unique to each society, to each religion, and to each culture. Sociological and anthropological research studies show that whatever the rituals and customs, they are established for the benefit and restraint of the living.

Not all the decisions in a country should be made by politicians. When all the decisions in a country are made by politicians, everything in that country becomes chaotic. The government should not negotiate with politicians to resolve the issue of cremation of coronavirus deaths. For that, the government should negotiate with relevant religious leaders.

Not everything in a country or a society is governed by law. If the issue of the cremation of those who die of Covid-19 is a religious one, the solution must be found within the religion itself. If it is a cultural problem, solutions must be found in the culture concerned. If the cremation is forbidden by God’s order, what needs to be done at this moment is not to change the common law of the country, but to ask for God’s permission.

Environmental protection should also be at the top of the agenda to be implemented in the face of coronavirus deaths. It should be in the opinion of the experts who have studied scientifically what is happening to the groundwater layer of Sri Lanka by burying bodies. It cannot be determined by political or religious ideology or by what other countries are doing. 

Appropriately, the easiest solution for religious leaders is to pray to their God and seek God’s permission to cremate the dead. The permission will surely come from God, the embodiment of love and kindness.