Sigh of relief with lifting of enhanced MCO rule

Barbed wires would be removed from the 13 localities in Bayan Lepas as the enhanced MCO comes to an end. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

RESIDENTS who faced the enhanced movement control order (MCO) in Pekan Bayan Lepas, Penang, are thankful that the two-week strict order has ended, but some are now worried if they are still employed.

Lorry driver Tan Lye Tatt, 45, who transports sand to development sites, is unsure whether he still has the job because his employer has not told him yet.

“I am happy that the enhanced MCO has ended. At least it gives us freedom to move now as it was like ‘house arrest’, being cooped up in our apartment unit in Bayu Nyaman.

Police personnel manning a roadblock near Sri Bayu Apartment in Bayan Lepas.Police personnel manning a roadblock near Sri Bayu Apartment in Bayan Lepas.

“My wife and mother are also glad that the restriction has ended, but now I have to go out and look for a job and besides driving a lorry, I am not familiar with other types of jobs,” he said yesterday.

Tan hopes his boss will recall him because his savings are nearly depleted.

Food delivery rider Karthik Manuvel, 19, said he lost several hundred ringgit in income during the strict lockdown.

“It was tough. My brother and I take care of all the expenses at home and my brother, who works in a logistics company, might also have a pay cut for the two weeks of staying home,” said Karthik, who lives with his parents who are daily wage operators in a factory.

During the enhanced MCO, Karthik said his family did not dare leave the house after knowing about the high number of cases in their neighbourhood.

The streets in one of the affected localities looking deserted.The streets in one of the affected localities looking deserted.

Ridhuan Mohd Mydin, a storekeeper, had his spirits high even though his company terminated his services and he now has to look for a new job.

“I only joined the company for two days when the lockdown was imposed on June 4. My boss said they could not keep me as business was slow.

“Anyway, the restriction is lifted and I can go out to look for a job,” added Ridhuan, 28, who lives with his parents and sister in Bayu Tiara Apartment.

Mohd Aswad Jaafar and his wife Nurulhuda Idris are thankful for the aid extended to them.Mohd Aswad Jaafar and his wife Nurulhuda Idris are thankful for the aid extended to them.

Petty trader Mohd Aswad Jaafar, 38, observed that residents in the enhanced MCO zone were cooperative in following the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“We knew what we were getting into and the only way to stay safe was to stay home,” he added.

Mohd Aswad expressed gratitude for the aid given by the state and non-governmental organisations during the period, adding that many of the residents there are in the B40 group.

Tan is hoping his boss would recall him to work.Tan is hoping his boss would recall him to work.

Balik Pulau MP Wan Muhammad Bakthiar Wan Chik estimated that more than RM100,000 worth of food and household essentials were distributed in the area over the last two weeks.

“At least 2,400 packs of food items were given to the people and their cooperation in heeding to the SOP was crucial in stopping the spread of coronavirus in their neighbourhood,” he said.

The enhanced MCO was imposed on Sri Bayu, Bayu Tiara, Bayu Nyaman, Halaman Murni, Bayan Permai, Bayan Tiara, Taman Ara Indah, Kampung Bukit, Kampung Perlis, Kampung Masjid, Jalan Mahkamah, Kampung Pak Lah and Lebuh Kampung Bukit.

It affected over 10,000 residents.

Karthik lost his income during the strict lockdown.Karthik lost his income during the strict lockdown.

The decision to impose the enhanced MCO came after health authorities recorded 83 new cases within two weeks with the total number of positive cases exceeding 250.

The Health Ministry in a statement said the enhanced MCO was lifted at 11.59am yesterday at all 13 localities upon completion of the 14-day strict rule.

The ministry said it had completed 3,582 Covid-19 screenings in the area and confirmed that the number of cases had reduced, new clusters were under control and those who were infected had received treatment.

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