State scores 99% compliance with imposed guidelines

A customer getting his temperature checked at one of the mini markets in Jelutong, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE local authorities have carried out 1.37 million checks on premises in Penang to gauge the compliance level of standard operating procedures (SOP), says Jagdeep Singh Deo.

The state local government committee chairman said as of Jan 14, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) had checked 592,076 and 781,140 premises respectively since the first movement control order was enforced on March 18 last year.

“From the checks conducted, there was a compliance rate of over 99% among operators of premises on both the island and mainland, ” he said.

Meanwhile, checks on several shoplots and business premises in George Town found that customers and business operators were adhering to the SOP.

At a restaurant selling economy rice in Taman Kheng Tian in Jelutong, six employees were seen manning the counters and

directing customers who queued up for takeaway meals at the premises.

One of them, who wanted to be known only as Lim, 56, said they usually received many customers during lunchtime.

“We station a few employees to guide and remind customers about the SOP and to maintain physical distancing.

“As our patrons are mostly from the neighbourhood, they cooperate with us and are well aware of the SOP to follow when buying food.

“They maintain physical distancing among themselves and everyone generally follows the SOP, ” she added.

A retired schoolteacher, who only gave her name as Lau, 71, said he bought only essentials from the shops in the neighbourhood during the MCO.

“I buy food from this shop almost every other day.

“I usually go to different places to pack my meals, but I dare not move around much during this MCO.

“As such, I only patronise the shops in my neighbourhood to get essentials as it is convenient and safer for me, ” he said.

At another mini market in Jelutong, store assistant June Lim, 66, said maintaining SOP in the store had been easy so far although there were still a few stubborn customers who refused to follow the rules.

“We allow only three persons in the premises at any one time because our shop is small.

“Most customers are all right with that, but sometimes a few will give us problems.

“Some elderly customers will be upset if we tell them to wait outside when there are already three people in the shop.

“They would insist on coming in, ” she related.

She also noted that some did not own smartphones to scan the MySejahtera QR code but then refused to manually record their names, saying it was troublesome.

“They said they wanted to buy only one item and would do it quickly.

“It is hard for us to handle such customers.

“We run a small business and if the authorities do a spot check here, we will end up having to pay the compound, ” she added.

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