KUCHING: It will be mandatory for the public to wear face masks when they are in crowded places or travelling on public transportation come Aug 1, says Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said following the special National Security Council (MKN) meeting today, the government has decided to make it compulsory for the people to wear face masks following the lack of compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOP) recently.
“More people are not adhering to the SOP set by the government such as when they board public transportation like LRT or buses or even on planes., they do not wear face masks. Apart from that, a lot of people no longer seem to practice social distancing as well.
“That is why the government decided today that starting Aug 1, it is compulsory to wear face masks in public transportation and at crowded public areas such as at markets and so on,” he told a press conference at the Parliament Building in Kuala Lumpur.
He pointed out that aside from wearing disposable face masks, the public can also opt to wear reusable masks which are made following the specifications allowed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The public can wear their own reusable face masks including ones they can sew themselves but it must be based on specifications set by WHO and this guideline will be issued by the Ministry of Health.
“The ministry will provide the specification and we will disseminate this information through the media so that we can sew our own face masks,” he said.
He said the government initially did not wish to make the wearing of face masks compulsory in view that purchasing face masks can be a burden to low-income groups.
“As face masks are disposable, we usually use at least one a day or preferably change them once every three hours. So this can be quite a liability particularly for those who are poor or with low income.
“But WHO has issued a guideline that people are allowed to use normal face mask but with certain specifications and as such, the government has decided to make it compulsory to wear face mask because everyone can sew their own face mask so as to protect themselves and their family,” he said.
He said as the new directive is enforced next month, the people can now start working on getting themselves the face masks.
“I hope that starting from now, you can start sewing your own face masks because when boarding public transportation on Aug 1, action under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) can be taken on those who failed to comply such as being issued a RM1,000 compound, be brought to court and so on,” he added.