Hefty price to uphold public safety


By RENA LIMN. TRISHA

Shoppers donning face masks at Gurney Paragon Mall in George Town. — Photos: ZAINUDIN AHAD and CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

SHOPPERS are bracing themselves for the compulsory ruling to wear face masks in crowded public places and on public transport starting Aug 1.

Shopping malls are also welcoming the ruling by stating that they would encourage shoppers to comply with it.

Student Nadea Ramlee, 18, said she understood the need to keep everyone safe but found the RM1,000 fine hefty.

“It is a lot of money to fine someone for not wearing a mask.

“It is cumbersome to wear it as I find it difficult to speak.

“People cannot hear when I speak and I am sure it is worse in classrooms when we want to hold discussions,” she said when met at Gurney Paragon Mall in Penang on Saturday.

Nadea said the mask ruling would not deter her and her friends from patronising malls.

Gurney Paragon Mall’s marketing and communications head Jasmine Tai said guards based at the mall’s entrances would ensure that patrons comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) before permitting entry.

“Every entrance will have a sign reminding shoppers to wear their masks before entering the mall.

“Wearing masks in public places like a shopping mall will provide a sense of security for the shoppers.

“In view of the spike of Covid-19 cases in the country recently, it is a wise move by the Government to impose the compulsory ruling of wearing face masks to curb the spread of the virus,” Tai said.

Sunshine Square director Yee Kam Ming said the compulsory ruling would make it easier for the supermarket to make sure shoppers wear their masks.

“Right now, we do advise and encourage shoppers to wear masks when entering our premises.

“But if they insist on not wearing, there is nothing much we can do as we cannot forbid them from coming in.

“Fortunately we have only encountered a few of such customers.

“Most of our shoppers will wear their masks voluntarily.

“As this is more of a neighbourhood supermarket and not one of those huge commercial malls, everyone is being responsible by masking up,” he said when met at the supermarket.

Kindergarten principal Farhana Hasbi, 32, said she had never missed wearing a mask whenever she went out.

“I want to be responsible and do my part but, it is not possible to control everyone else.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak is still not over, I think we should continue to be careful and wear our masks especially in crowded places,” she said.

Another shopper Azman Zakariah, 51, said he supported the ruling.

“I feel it is necessary for people to wear face masks.

“Unfortunately, I am not wearing my mask this time as I forgot to bring it and I just wanted to stop by to pick up some items before I go on my way.

“I guess I must be more mindful after this, as the compound is a whopping RM1,000.

“It will certainly be a heavy burden for many to pay the fine,” said the businessman.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said that it would be compulsory to wear face masks in crowded public places and on public transport starting Aug 1 or face stern action.

He had said that the ruling was made following the increase in positive Covid-19 cases lately and due to lower compliance to SOPs among the public.

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