All ready for lockdown

Peoples busy restock their food before that places will be placed under a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) in Relau, Penang.(December 6,2020). - ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

MOST residents in Paya Terubong and Batu Uban who are going under the enhanced movement control order (MCO) in Penang island have stocked up on household supplies. Many were seen rushing to the markets and shops to buy necessities.

In Paya Terubong, resident Lau Sooi Sim, 76, said she bought enough food items to last for at least three days.

“I bought more vegetables, meat and fish besides some dry items.

“These are sufficient for both my daughters and me, ” she said when met at Sri Aman market complex near her residence in Sri Aman Apartments yesterday.

Her home is located within one of two areas in Penang — a cluster of flats in Paya Terubong and Desa Bistari Apartments in Batu Uban — that are put under enhanced MCO from today until Dec 20.

A management representative of the market said government officers told them yesterday that the market traders are allowed to operate from 6am to 2pm and the market could open for only three days in a week.

The representative, who wished to be known as Liew, 70, said he gave out authorisation letters to the more than 140 stall owners who operated here.

“We will place Rela personnel at the entrance and exit points to control the crowd.

“We were told that at any one time, 200 customers are allowed to enter but we will reduce it to maintain physical distancing, ” he said.

“We were told that the stall owners can operate only three days in a week from 6am to 2pm.”

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong said the police would wait for additional standard operating procedures (SOP) from National Security Council (NSC) on how the market could operate within the enhanced MCO areas.

Fishmonger Fam Lee For, 34, said he saw more customers yesterday than previously.

“Many customers came to stock up their seafood supply, ” he said.

Housewife K. Thilagaah, 38, who stays in Bukit Jambul, said although her area is not under the enhanced MCO, she bought extra supplies for her family, as her place is within sub-district 13 that is one of two sub-districts placed under the conditional movement control order.

The other area is sub-district 12.

“I usually come to this market to re-stock every week as it is near my house.

“With the CMCO, my husband usually gets basic supplies from the mini market near our house, ” she said.

Paya Terubong assemblyman Yeoh Soon Hin urged residents there to always adhere to the SOP.

He also reminded those put under quarantine to be civic-minded and not leave their homes until the end of their quarantine period.

At Desa Bistari Apartments in Batu Uban, residents were also seen stocking up on essentials and home supplies.A resident, who wanted to be known only as Tan, 49, said his family needed more fresh food supplies.

“I had already stocked up last week because I expected the conditional MCO to be extended.

“Since my company does not allow me to go to work, I just have to buy a few more items and we will be all set for the enhanced MCO.

Factory workers Subhash Kumar, 23, and Prakash Yadab, 29, were seen buying vegetables, meat and rice to last them and their housemates for about a week.

“There are a few of us living together, so we need to stock up, ” said Subhash.

Based on the latest SOP for enhanced MCO released by NSC on Nov 16, only one member of each household may leave home to get essentials every day between 8am and 2pm.

Everyone else must remain at home.

Those who lack food and supplies will receive aid.

Essential economic activities will be tightly regulated and all social, religious, recreational and cultural activities are forbidden.

A total of about 14,000 residents are affected and many of them are factory workers, who will not be allowed to go to work.

Despite possible disruptions to production in the factories, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang branch chairman Datuk Jimmy Ong said they welcomed the enhanced MCO in Penang.

“It is a good move to curb Covid-19 so that those affected are confined and it will not spread to the community at large.

“This allows action to be taken early on as the factories cannot afford to close anymore, if there are Covid-19 cases at their premises.

“Such a move will allow factories to continue operating while efforts to contain the pandemic is being taken.

“We advise all the factories to continue following the SOP strictly and we trust that they will be diligent in this, ” he said.

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