KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Having gone through the Movement Control Order (MCO) 1.0 in March last year, Malaysians have reacted with more calm to the announcement on the implementation of a 14-day total lockdown from June 1.
The announcement was not only accepted with relief, given that the country’s daily COVID-19 cases surpassed 9,000 cases today, but the public also did not react with panic in facing the total lockdown, including in terms of purchasing daily necessities.
A survey by Bernama at several supermarkets in the capital found that although the shopping centres were still the focus of the public, there was sufficient stock, including ‘hot items’ which were much sought after during MCO 1.0, such as bread and toilet paper.
Sales executive Muhd Haris Rosli, 21, said the previous experience had taught him and his family to remain calm and not worry about getting the necessities.
At a supermarket in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, customers could be seen queueing up to buy basic necessities like rice, milk and sugar as well as other items such as soap, but there was no panic buys resulting in supplies running out of stock.
Housewife Nurul Huda Selamat, 35, from Batu Pahat, Johor and a former COVID-19 patient, said that she had since been using online services more often to buy her daily necessities.
“People do not need to make panic purchases and should go out to buy necessities once a week,” she said when contacted.
In Selangor, customers of a supermarket in Shah Alam started queueing up to buy daily necessities from 6 am and, by noon, more had turned up.
The company’s executive floor manager Mohd Safrizal Zainaldin said although there were many customers, this time it was different from the MCO 1.0 as customers were now smarter by using the WhatsApp application to order goods to avoid congestion.
In Kedah, a survey at several supermarkets around the city found that there was no unusual rush for necessities.
In Penang, checks at the Kuantan Road market and a major shopping mall this morning found they were packed with customers and vehicles.
Grocer Lim Khoon Huat, 73, said it was business as usual and that customers only bought according to their needs.
Meanwhile, as some leaders voiced their support over the implementation of the total lockdown, the general public hoped that the move would help contain the spread of the pandemic from becoming more serious.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad tweeted his support and said that the state government would announce a stimulus package.
Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, in a statement today, said the state government supported the decision to implement the total lockdown following the alarming increase in new COVID-19 cases.
A consumer at a supermarket in Simpang Empat, Kedah, Mazlan Abu Bakar, 57, said he supported the implementation, adding that there was no need for him to make panic purchases based on his previous MCO experience.
A factory worker in Negeri Sembilan, Niesya Din, 26, said the government’s announcement of the total lockdown came as a relief to manufacturing sector workers who faced the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in their workplaces.
Pahang entrepreneur Azri Che Mukhtar, 32, said the total lockdown could provide some answers to those in the small and medium enterprise sector, after being uncertain as to when the pandemic would end.
Azri, who has seven employees, is also of the view that appropriate assistance should be given, especially salary subsidies as well as a moratorium, so that they can continue their business after the total lockdown is lifted.