Calls grow for tighter safety rules

PUTRAJAYA: There are calls for stricter standard operating procedure (SOP), including placing

Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya under an enhanced movement control order (MCO) to effectively stop Covid-19 infections, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

But he said this needed to be closely assessed as placing these areas on lockdown would affect not only the economy but also individuals, particularly the self-employed and those earning daily wages.

He said the Health Ministry had been asked to look into the matter and assess the existing SOP enforced in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, which some had deemed as “too relaxed”.

“We have asked the ministry to study the matter and give the National Security Council (MKN) an assessment on the situation, ” he said in his daily briefing.

He said while placing these areas under enhanced MCO would help reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, the economy would have to be shut down, movement would be completely restricted and food supplies would have to be sent over.

“Yes, the easiest thing to do is to close everything and not allow people to leave their houses, but there are other considerations that need to be looked at, ” he added.

Ismail Sabri was asked if the government deemed it necessary to put these areas under enhanced MCO, especially Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, where certain activities such as going to the gym and public parks are allowed.

Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have been placed under conditional MCO from Oct 14 to 27.

As for Sabah, Ismail Sabri said MKN felt that enhanced MCO was not needed for the time being as localities with a high number of cases had been put on lockdown.

“The Health Ministry is monitoring the situation in the state daily and we will wait for the authorities’ assessment to see if it warrants a stricter order, ” he said.

On another matter, the minister has assured Malaysians working in Singapore that they are not prevented from returning and that they can do so anytime after making an application.

“We have received requests from Malaysians wanting to come home as they miss their families. It’s not that we don’t allow them to return.

“We have announced that our citizens in Singapore can come back anytime via land or air. They can apply for the Immigration Department’s MyTravelPass, ” he said.

He said those planning to return without using the periodic commuting arrangement (PCA) with Singapore could enter via the Sultan Iskandar and Sultan Abu Bakar customs, immigration and quarantine complexes, be screened for Covid-19 and placed under 14-day quarantine.

He said details could be obtained on the Immigration Department and Foreign Ministry’s websites.

He also reminded employers to send their foreign security guards for Covid-19 screening before allowing them to come to work as it was a mandatory SOP.

He noted the case of 1Utama shopping mall in Petaling Jaya having to be closed for several days after a security guard tested positive for Covid-19.

In May, the government ordered all foreign security guards working in Malaysia to undergo Covid-19 swab tests following the discovery of a cluster among guards at a mall in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

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