Tighter MCO soon may see more closures, limited operation hours

Modified 28 Mar 2020, 7:48 am
  • UPDATED 3.45PM | Additional comments from Ismail Sabri on repatriating M'sians stranded overseas and curbing illegal entry into the country.

CORONAVIRUS | The National Security Council (NSC) has proposed more closures and limited operation hours for certain businesses and services, but this will be fine-tuned before it is formally unveiled and enforced, says Defence Minister Ismail Sabri.

"The NSC had proposed for a number of places to be closed down or their operation hours limited but this will involve other ministries. They were only just tabled just now," he told a press conference after chairing a cabinet committee meeting on Covid-19.

"For example, in terms of industries, there are many proposed items on the list for closure but we need to discuss with the International Trade and Industry Ministry," Ismail (photo) said.

"Likewise, we want vegetable production to continue but that means fertiliser and pesticide shops must also remain open which would end up with too many remaining open.

"Whatever decision we will make with the stricter MCO, we will ensure it won't cause too much inconvenience for the people," he said, adding that the stricter guidelines will be announced tomorrow or the day after.

He also stressed that essential services including supermarkets will remain open albeit with certain operation hours.

Ismail said ahead of the MCO, there had been "fake news" about a curfew or total lockdown.

He stressed that any tightening of the MCO would still be under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988 and therefore, does not constitute a curfew or emergency.

"Do not be influenced (by fake news) that panic sets in," he said.

Ismail said the tighter measures are expected to be announced, at the earliest, tomorrow.

In a separate development, he said efforts are being made to curb the entry of foreigners through illegal routes into the country.

He also updated that some 3,616 Malaysians are still stranded in almost 60 countries as many undergo lockdown to curb the global pandemic.

Ismail said to date, 2,612 Malaysians have been brought home.

He said with MIC's sponsorship, 12 commercial flights have been sent to India to retrieve 1,988 Malaysian citizens stranded there.

He added that efforts are also being made to bring back Malaysians stranded in Egypt.

In the meantime, he urged Malaysians who are still abroad to abide by the laws of the respective countries.

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