Malaysians welcome move to allow fitness activities in MCO areas

PETALING JAYA: The decision to allow non-contact sports and recreational activities in areas under the movement control order has brought much relief to the public but many expressed hope that the government will be firmer in its decisions to avoid confusion.

On Thursday (May 6), the Youth and Sports Ministry said the National Security Council (NSC) had made the decision to ban all sports and recreational activities in areas under the MCO.

However, in a statement on Friday (May 7), the Ministry said the NSC had met to look into its appeal to revise the sports and recreation sector standard operating procedure (SOP) during the MCO from May 7 to 20.

The final decision, made later the same day, allowed sports and recreational activities without physical contact such as jogging, cycling and exercising to be conducted in open areas, subject to the SOP.

Lisa Chang on Facebook said the standard operating procedure should be made similar to what it was during MCO 2.0 to avoid confusing the public.

“Why is there a need to change here and there, just follow the previous SOP.

“Stop confusing us, ” she said in her post.

Steward Saw also said the changes in SOP will result not only in confusion among the public but also enforcers.

However, Muhd Nuh Abd Rahman believed that the government had only listened to the public’s woes as they reached such a decision.

“Okay la. At least the government did some research and come up with a logical result based on what the people wanted, ” he said.

Facebook user Anis Hashim pointed out that the NSC's SOP had, as of Thursday, no restrictions on outdoor non-contact sports.

“In the first place, NSC’s SOP on PKP Selangor as published and effective May 6 had no restrictions on outdoor non-contact exercise provided physical distancing of 1.5m was complied with, ” she said.

The public is also hoping that the government would allow swimming pools and gyms to open.

“I have never heard of a gym cluster, or a running track cluster, even sports centre cluster.

“Exercise is good for everyone; it might help to prevent the infection itself! Please stop all this sport closure and open back the gym, ” said @Zul_fz on Instagram.

Others queried whether sports such as badminton, hiking and golf would be allowed.

“Great news, now just waiting on confirmation that golf will be allowed again, ” said John Preston.

A handful of Internet users, however, believed that irresponsible parties will misuse the flexibility to disobey SOPs such as having conversations without wearing a mask.

“When they allow this, half will misuse. They will be chit-chatting in the park without their masks on.

"When enforcement issue a 'saman; (compound), the next day the news headlines will be " jogging without a mask, fined 1k", ” said Farook Divanand.

Instagram user @Aisyaziz04, meanwhile, suggested that a stricter MCO would help drive down Covid-19 cases in the country.

“I have to say this, I hope everyone agrees. Do it like the first MCO last year. Believe me, if we follow that direction, it (number of cases) will go down, ” she commented.

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