Malaysians in favour of tougher MCO

PETALING JAYA: The majority of Malaysians surveyed in a National Security Council (NSC) online poll want a tougher movement control order (MCO).

A whopping 96% of 230,562 people who took the poll say that authorities must be stricter. The poll which started on March 30, also showed that 84% of those surveyed were prepared for the extended MCO until April 14.

As of press time, 87% of those polled online said that there was enough food supply in their areas during the MCO.

The NSC poll appears to tally with official indications that most Malaysians are adhering to the MCO. The online polls on the NSC website between March 30 and yesterday is an ongoing survey to gauge how well the public is accepting the MCO and how prepared they are during the period.

While the people are largely accepting of the efforts by the authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19, a bigger worry of Malaysian Muslims is that the MCO would drag into the fasting month of Ramadan, likely to begin on April 23.

However, some state muftis have stated that Muslims should prepare to brace for Ramadan minus the usual Terawih prayers if the MCO is extended.

The muftis of Selangor and Penang – two states which were the earliest to ban Ramadan bazaars – said that Muslims should adhere to the MCO as a religious duty, even if it meant forgoing Terawih prayers.

Selangor mufti Datuk Tamyes Abd Wahid said that Muslims must realise that Terawih prayers in the mosques was not a must and performing it at home did not mean it was any lesser in its reward.

“As it is an MCO, Selangor ordered at least two mosque officials only to hold the congregation prayer for the five obligatory prayers, while practising social distancing and other measures. Our priority should be to get rid of the pandemic, ” said Tamyes.

“We Muslims must understand that importance of life is the second highest priority after religion in Islam.

“When our lives are threatened – as is the case during this pandemic – it becomes a must for us to adhere to what has been ordered by the government who cares for our lives, ” said Penang mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted on April 2 that there will be a spike of positive cases in mid-April, which is the end of the second phase of the MCO.

A Reuters report quoted WHO’s head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore Ying-Ru Lo as saying that WHO Country Office has projected that Malaysia will see a peak in infections in mid-April.

“There are initial signs of flattening of the curve, but this could bounce back if control measures are lifted and if people don’t continue to take protective measures, ” Lo had said.

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