The 4th of May, 2020 marks the 48th day of Movement Control Order (MCO) that the Malaysian government has implemented since 18th March. It also marks the first day of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) where most businesses are allowed to reopen in order to ease pressure on the economy.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement on Labour Day (1st May) to ease restrictions on the MCO as Malaysia has incurred an estimated RM63 billion loss since the MCO was implemented, reported NST.
He said that if the MCO were to be extended for another month, the country will incur another RM35 billion loss, bringing the total losses to an estimated RM98 billion.
However, while there is an ease of restrictions to save the economy, there is also the concern that there could be a resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the community if Malaysians are allowed to go back into the ‘outside world’.
Health experts have voiced their concerns that there could be a third wave of infections due to the CMCO and that a “lack of preparation will result in the unsuccessful implementation of the SOP, increased risks, frustration, conflict, public tension, and most importantly, increased infection and spread of the disease.”
3-digit increases of Covid-19 cases in the past two days
Well, their concerns may be warranted as Malaysia recorded three-digit increases in cases in the past two days with 105 new cases recorded on 2nd May and 122 new cases recorded on 3rd May. This comes just two days before the start of the CMCO after almost two weeks of just two-digit increases.
But the question goes back to the people – are Malaysians happy with the decisions made by the government?
We interviewed a few Malaysians about what they think of the ease of restrictions and here’s what they have to say:
- “A step forward for the MCO only to take two steps backward with this CMCO. Not only does it make our government look bad with fickle decision making (announcing CMCO just days after MCO extension to 12th May), it erases all progress that we have made by staying at home for the past two months. Businesses understandably should be allowed to open to keep the economy running but why should sports be allowed? Does the government think the virus is blind to groups of nine but not 10? If you know what’s good for you, stay at home.” – Liew, 22.
- “I think the government should stick to completing the 4th MCO till 12 May before suddenly introducing the CMCO which I feel is premature. We had people disobeying MCO, what makes you think they will comply to CMCO? Government should know our people better before implementing a new SOP.” – Mr Tan, 54.
- “Malaysians have not understood the risks of contact infections and still think that wearing masks will suffice. Masks give people a sense of false security. If people must come out in droves, they should wear a three-foot-diameter tyre around them to ensure that only tyres bump into tyres. This will give business to our rubber industry. WFH is the new normal. But if people must go to the office, the use of bathrooms and pantries will pose a big problem. So stay home.” – Ms Mok, 55.
- “I feel like the CMCO is not that great of a move as it feels like we stayed at home during the MCO for nothing. On another hand, we can’t always live in fear of the virus and the economy is already not that good. It’s a chicken and egg thing and I believe that maybe it was implemented a little too hastily (with only 3 days to prepare!).” – Paris, 24.
- “The CMCO situation is 50-50 in my opinion. It is rather unnecessary to loosen the rules right in the beginning of the MCO phase 4, because cases are already seeing a resurgence, and Malaysians are already crowding places. However, I also think the government is just doing the best they can to run the country, and losing more money isn’t going to help us in any way either so re-opening economic sectors is the smart move to help the country run again.” – Uni student, 24.
- “I genuinely think it’s a bad idea to ease the MCO, especially since humans are known to take advantage of and underestimate certain situations. Keep the MCO going until the authorities can confirm there are no more Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, then maybe the CMCO can come into play.” – Hara, 26.
However, some think that easing restrictions is no big deal.
- “In some ways, the implementation of the CMCO seems like the ending of a monster movie. Just when you thought the monster has been killed, oop, an egg with its spawn will crack. Some of the moves does seem a little… unnecessary? Because let’s be honest, no one died from going alone to get groceries. But at the same time, we have to realise that not all of us are in the same boat. It’s easier to say STAY HOME when your home is a mansion instead of a low-cost flat. While the MCO can be relaxed, it probably should’ve been done in stages instead of just Crash Landing On Us!” – Thermesh, 24.
Well, it seems like most Malaysians don’t agree with the CMCO, but we also have to consider how much of an impact the MCO has made on the economy. Nevertheless, we need to have hope that things will get better soon!
In the meantime, you know what to do – practise social distancing, wear a mask, regularly wash your hands and stay home if you have no reason to go out.