PETALING JAYA: From shoppers to store owners, Malaysians have much to say about the three-day closure for sanitisation of shopping malls listed on HIDE (Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement).
On Facebook, there were Malaysians who were supportive of the move.
In fact, Prabha Sundram said it should have been done long ago.
“Lives are at stake here, ” she said.
Similarly, Azid Barja said it was better to avoid malls, bazaars and other crowded places for now.
“(We should) act like it is the first MCO. Only the head of the household goes out for groceries. People should stay home whenever possible. Also, never take off your face mask when outside, ” he said.
Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer HC Chan said they were doing their best to cooperate and support all the government standard operating procedures (SOP) as they believed that “safety is the responsibility of everyone”.
“Now nearly every mall in the Klang Valley is listed as high-risk and I think that is a generalisation.
“The concept of a shopping mall is that we are centrally managed and controlled in terms of housekeeping, safety, security and health standards.
“So, rightfully, it is safer compared to the streets – the night market, pasar malam or bazaar, as it is closely regulated for those who enter the mall, ” he added.
“We are regimentally checking on every case that enters the mall and naturally as there are more people who visit these places.
“So statistically, there will be those who are high-risk that will be there and now we are trying to remove that risk by denying them entry, ” he said.
Chan then questioned the data collection method on HIDE.
“I think it should be more open and transparent on how it is traced. If it is a big place then there will be more people; small places, fewer people.
“Is it measured by the number of people going in? Or do they look at the infection rates?
“For example, a big mall, it may have 100,000 people. A small mall may have 10,000.
“If both malls have an infection rate of 1%, so do they look at the absolute number of 100 or absolute number of 1,000?” he asked.
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur chief executive officer (Retail) Datuk Joyce Yap said the management understood the severity of the Covid-19 situation.
However, she said what they hoped for was for the stakeholders to be informed in advance so that there would be a smooth implementation of the directive.
Yap noted that the data collection for HIDE was not done overnight, thus there would be sufficient time to inform the relevant stakeholders.
“Even last night (Saturday), we were still seeking clarification. Initially the notice said it would take effect on May 10, and then, it is with immediate effect.
“You have to sympathise with the F&B outlets as they have perishable goods, ” she said, citing how a florist with flower stocks for Mother’s Day was in limbo.
Yap also expressed concern on the data collection method of the HIDE system, claiming that data from the MySejahtera application was not fair as those who are high-risk may have scanned to enter a premises but would have been denied entry by a security guard on duty.
“Sanitisation in the shopping mall is done three times a day. We are good citizens who comply with all the government directives.
“It is easy to close these places but the general public will think twice when they know it is a high-risk place. For us to rebuild the trust and confidence of the public is not easy, it will take a long time, ” she said.
On Saturday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that all premises, including bazaars, listed in HIDE have to close with immediate effect for three days.
There were 151 hotspots identified in the first HIDE system list, mainly comprising shopping malls as well as restaurants and markets.
National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin had said that all premises in the HIDE system were not Covid-19 clusters but had the potential to turn into one if pre-emptive action was not taken.