CORONAVIRUS | From May 4, heads of government departments have been urged to implement staggered working hours and alternate days of work at the office and from home, as part of the loosening of restrictions by the government in the movement control order (MCO).
In an announcement broadcast late this morning, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that beginning Monday next week, the government will encourage civil servants to work from home except for work that requires being at the office, and meetings should be held online.
He called on private companies and businesses to do the same in order to avoid overcrowding at the workplace, public transportation and to maintain social distancing.
“I ask for all department heads to hold discussions at the departmental level to reorganise the need of human resource to prioritise the concept of work from home,” Muhyiddin said.
The premier said that alternate workdays at the office and from home would help civil servants with childcare problems especially with concerns over sending children to childcare centres, which will also be allowed to resume operations from Monday.
“Today, the wife can work from home and the husband can work at the office. Tomorrow, the husband will work from home and the wife will go to the office. So children need not be sent to childcare centres. Only those with no other options will send their children there.
“Indirectly, this could decrease the number of children at childcare centres and make it easier for childcarers to abide by health SOP (standard operating procedures).
“So I urge employers if possible to enable husband and wife with the need to look after young children at home to be allowed to work alternate days from home,” he said.
Muhyiddin also urged the private sector to implement similar arrangements for their staff as part of measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 even with the loosening of restrictions under the conditional MCO.
“At the workplace, employers must screen the temperature of workers daily. If the temperature is high, then advise the worker to go home or quickly to a clinic.
“Besides that, as workers, one needs to ensure that tables, chairs and equipment at the office are always clean. Avoid touching or body contact with fellow workers,” Muhyiddin said.
In line with the expected resumption of operations of most private sectors and public sector, he urged public transportation companies to ensure they take measures to prevent overcrowding at bus stations, Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations among others.
“To help prevent overcrowding at public transport stations and in public transportations, I propose that all employers implement staggered working hours.
“Not all workers need to come to work at the same time. So slowly we can prevent everyone from rushing to the office at the same time.
“I also advise all users of public transport to use face masks. You will always be exposed to the risk of Covid-19. So take steps to protect yourselves.
“Wear face masks and also carry with you one or two more in the bag. Always bring hand sanitisers,” Muhyiddin said.
Earlier today, he announced the reopening of the majority of businesses and sporting activities from May 4 as the country looks to revitalise the economy after over a month under a partial shutdown.
However, the conditional MCO does not include businesses, operations, sporting activities or any events that would entail large gatherings, body contact and inability to maintain social distancing.
He said the permission to reopen activities were based on strict rules and regulations, as well as SOPs.
Businesses and activities not permitted include religious activities and mass prayers including gathering at places of worship, open houses, Ramadan bazaars, entertainment outlets, concerts as well as indoor and stadium sports.
However, the premier’s speech did not address if certain existing MCO regulations such as 10km travel radius would still be in effect.
The full list of businesses and activities not permitted to restart on May 4 can be found here.
The SOPs set by the NSC for businesses reopening is available here
Keep up with the latest information on the outbreak in the country with Malaysiakini's free Covid-19 tracker.
Malaysiakini is providing free access to the most important updates on the coronavirus pandemic. You can find them here.
Help keep independent media alive - subscribe to Malaysiakini.