Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob

PUTRAJAYA, May 5 — The public perception that there would be chaos after people who had been confined to their homes for so long were ‘freed’ yesterday was proven wrong, thanks to the self-control that everyone showed.

In fact, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he himself thought the situation would be bad on the first day of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period yesterday.

“Many people, including myself, thought there would be chaos on the first day of the CMCO. People who had been confined for so long in their homes were freed yesterday. Of course, there would be chaos as people went out,” he said in a press conference on the Movement Control Order (MCO) here today.

However, he said, the opposite happened, because despite the increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, the situation was still under control as the majority of people, including owners of business premises, complied with the standard operating procedure (SOP).

”This shows that the new normals are being followed and will become the culture of our people. As I said, self-control is the most important thing for us to maintain our health…it seems it is being practised by our people.

“They (traders) took the body temperatures, provided hand sanitizers, limited the number of customers at any one time, and made sure their customers lined up outside their premises, keeping to the social distance of one metre, while restaurant operators took down the names of the customers for contact tracing if there were positive COVID-19 cases,” he said.

Meanwhile, a look at public transportation like the MRT and LRT found that many commuters practised social distancing and wore masks.

Ismail Sabri also thanked those who made viralled videos and photographs of premises which did not comply with the SOP.

However, he reminded the public to check the authenticity of a video or photograph before sending it out on the internet to ensure that they do not become fake news

Ismail Sabri said as of yesterday,  259 investigation papers relating to fake news on COVID-19 were opened.

On the call by the Malaysian Employers; Federation (MEF) to the government to review the order that all foreign workers undergo screening tests for COVID-19, Ismail Sabri said this was issued amid worries that there would be new clusters of COVID-19 cases among foreign workers after the number of positive cases increased among foreign workers in construction sites.

“It has to be curbed because we do not want what happened in Singapore to occur here as it thought the number of positive COVID-19 cases had flattened but because there were clusters of foreigners, in the end, the COVID-19 graft shot up high. We do not want it to happen to our country,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the move would also prevent business premises from being closed down if there were positive cases among the workers.

“To me, it is better that they open their factories rather than close it down. So, there must be tests conducted on their workers so we separate those who are positive (for COVID-19) and treat them, those who are negative can continue working, and the business premises can continue operating,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the early screening will focus on construction site workers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor as advised by the Health Ministry.

He added that about 60 per cent of the registered workers were members the Social Secuirity Organisation (SOCSO) and the cost of screening  would  be paid by it.

Yesterday, the MEF was reported as saying that the employers had to pay the cost for an estimated RM1.15 billion if COVID-19 screenings were conducted on all foreign workers who are registered with them and this will increase the burden on the employers who were facing difficult times.


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