Experts And Business Owners Express Disapproval Towards New SOP Guidelines, Netizens Join In

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source: Harian Metro

While many citizens rejoiced upon hearing health minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s update on SOP relaxations yesterday, others disagree with his efforts, including medical experts and business owners.

According to the new directive, checking in on MySejahtera will no longer be mandatory, and unvaccinated individuals will be given free reign to enter premises so long as they have not been identified as high risk persons, or are in the midst of undergoing quarantine.

This would mean that premise owners will need to bear the responsibility of verifying the status of each and every customer.

Ameer Ali Mydin, managing director of the esteemed Mydin hypermarkets, stated that the new government order is the ‘most ridiculous’ SOP that has been established so far.

source: Malaysiakini

The Penang-born entrepreneur added that people may refuse to have their phones checked, a scene business owners are all too familiar with, as it is.

“My peers and I are all talking about this in our WhatsApp groups,” he said.

“We don’t know how to implement this. It should not be the mall owners’ responsibility to worry about the public.”

Other business leaders, namely FMBA vice-chairman Raymond Woo and SME Association of Malaysia vice-president Chin Chee Seong also expressed concern regarding the matter.

They feared that people may find loopholes by falsifying their MySejahtera status or simply choose not to update their MySejahtera status shall they test positive.

“As shop owners, we will check, but the onus is on citizens to play their part.”

“It’s difficult for businesses to check if it is from the app or a screenshot,” said Raymond, whereas Chin mentioned that needing to station extra workers to monitor customers will pose unnecessary costs to premise owners.

J Suresh, president of the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president also deemed the move needless and inconvenient, especially since many businesses were already faced with a shortage of workers following the pandemic.

“It’s a good thing that we are slowly getting back to normal, but now we have the problem of checking customers’ risk status,” he said.

Another portion of the new order that has been criticised is the government’s idea to drop the mask mandate. Experts believe that the change should be put off until early July, in time for Hari Raya Haji.
source: Nona

“We don’t want to relive the nightmare of the last Hari Raya when the Beta wave converged with the arrival of Delta-fuelled infections,” said public health specialist Dr Safiya Amaran.

She added that a large number of the population’s immunity may begin to waver by May or June, seeing as there was a spike in booster shot intakes early this year.

“This has to be a Hari Raya celebrated with caution, as we do not know whether the decline in cases observed is due to mask-wearing or vaccination, or what exactly is the magic formula in terms of the ideal combination of Covid-19 prevention,” she told New Straits Times.

The medical lecturer also said that eased mask restrictions were causing an increase in infections, deaths and virus mutations in foreign countries that did not practice the mandate such as Denmark and the United States.

Other experts noted that the new rule was not a ‘one size fits all’ matter, and the government should enforce orders while paying mind to the population density of the country.

source: Berita Harian

“First, they say there is no need for masks, until infections and hospitalisations start to rise. Then they say there is a need for masks, only to retract the advice when cases decline,” said Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, chairman of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry’s Covid-19 Epidemiological Analysis and Strategies Task Force.

He also urged the public to wear ‘quality’ masks such as N95, KN95, KF94 or FFP2, rather than the usual surgical or fabric masks.

Numerous netizens have backed up these statements, challenging the government, especially Khairy, on how they plan to monitor people nationwide and ensure their safety.

Some argued that the use of MySejahtera should be obliterated altogether, while others insisted that masks were still very much needed to aid the fight against Covid-19.

Additionally, a few citizens said that they feared the aftermath of the upcoming less-regulated Raya celebrations.

Two days ago, the Ministry of Health announced that full capacity was allowed for Aidilfitri prayers and open houses will be permitted once again.