Govt asked to reconsider opening up certain sectors


KUCHING: A Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) academician is urging the government to re-consider the decision to open up some sectors with the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, a senior lecturer of Faculty of Syariah and law, feared that the relaxation might give rise to the spread of Covid-19, though there had been positive progress made since the MCO was enforced on March 18.

“If relaxation is given to the existing MCO, it might hamper all the hard work and efforts taken by our health officers in controlling the spread of Covid-19 for the last many weeks,” he said in a statement.

Though the decision to lift restrictions on some sectors might be very useful and essential to the people and country, Muzaffar said allowing barber and laundry services to operate might not be appropriate as it allows people to mix together.

“We are also not certain how much all these sectors will abide by all the specific guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) once it’s ready and distributed to these sectors.”

As extra enforcement authorities might be deployed to monitor the compliance of SOP among these sectors, he said it would result in heavier burden to the current authorities regarding the enforcement of the MCO.

Due to these reasons, Muzaffar said it would be better for the government to discuss the matter with the Ministry of Health before any decisions are made on the lifting of restrictions on certain sectors.

“Top priority must be given to public health and safety before any permission is given to these sectors to operate.”

Specific guidelines and SOP should also be developed for those allowed to operate to avoid confusion among the industry players and public, he added.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry stated additional economic sectors are allowed to operate in phases during this MCO, including machinery and equipment, aerospace and science, professional and technical services, barber shops and full-service laundry shops, among others.

It said applications have to be made and they are subjected to strict adherence to health and safety guidelines.