Most comply, want clearer guidelines

PETALING JAYA: The first day of the mandatory wearing of face masks in public areas saw most Malaysians adhering to the ruling to avoid getting penalised.

Checks at various places saw people donning face masks, especially in crowded spaces such as markets, shopping malls and public transport terminals.

Most took the matter seriously after the official announcement on making the wearing of masks mandatory in crowded places where social distancing is not possible.

This came after a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases reported over the past week, which also saw the emergence of new clusters such as those in Sarawak and Kedah.

With the police deployed to the streets nationwide to ensure public compliance with the directive, Malaysians have urged the government to provide clearer guidelines so that they would not be indiscriminately penalised.

On Facebook, Michael Lai expressed his frustration over the “confusing” standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government.

“Today say this but tomorrow say that, now people are not scared of Covid-19 but are scared of getting a summons, ” he said.

Sim Kimhak questioned whether the public needed to wear masks when driving alone, and Felicia Kok had the same query.

“In the car need to wear mask? #confusedMalaysian, ” Kok said.

ChinHa Lee wondered why the government did not give proper directions on when to wear a mask.

“Why don’t the ministry give a clear guideline of when and where to mask up?” he said.

Calling the directives unclear, Shary Lee asked if people could go jogging without a mask.

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye urged the government to clearly define “crowded public places”. Lee, who is the Alliance for Safe Community (Ikatan) chairman, said that as a park was a public place, would Malaysians need to wear a face mask while exercising there?

He also wondered whether Malaysians were required to wear face masks while waiting for their food in a restaurant, as the premises would be considered a public area. “When you are driving alone, can you be stopped by a law enforcer for not wearing a mask, as a car is in a public place?

“These are the things that need to be explained. I believe the majority of people would comply, as they know the ruling is for their own benefit.

“But it is important to have a clear definition of what it means by ‘crowded public place’. Otherwise, it will give rise to arguments, ” he said.

Ryan Ng Soon Seng opined that it would be safer to just wear a face mask the moment one stepped out of the house.

“Be safe and you save RM1,000, ” he quipped.

Bravo Bran concurred, saying it was safer to just wear a face mask in public places, crowded or not, to prevent enforcement officers from coming after them.

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