April 16, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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Face masks compulsory in crowded public spaces from Aug 1

face masks

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23  — The use of face masks in crowded public spaces and on public transportation will be made compulsory beginning August 1. 

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who flout this directive can be slapped with a RM1,000 compound notice under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. 

“This decision was made at the special ministerial meeting on the Movement Control Order (MCO),” he told a media conference on developments concerning the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in Parliament today. 

face masks

Ismail Sabri said in addition to advice from the Health Ministry (MOH), the decision was reached after taking into account the emergence of new clusters. 

He said for now, the ruling would only be enforced for public transportation such as Light RailTransit (LRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and crowded public spaces such as markets and farmers’ markets (pasar tani).

As for those who intend to stitch their own face masks, Ismail Sabri said the Health Ministry will soon be issuing guidelines to ensure these self-stitched face masks comply with specifications and conditions set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

“The government had all this while not made it (use of face masks) mandatory as we understand the situation faced by those from the lower-income group in purchasing the disposable type. 

“This is because for disposable masks, it is best to change to new ones after three hours. A large family would find this costly, so WHO has come out with guidelines for non-disposable face masks, but on the condition, they meet specifications,” he said. 

Ismail Sabri advised the people to take their own initiatives to protect themselves for the time being by wearing face masks in public areas even though the ruling would only be enforced on Aug 1. 

In this regard, he reminded Malaysians that two important factors to curb COVID-19 infection were the use of face masks and by practising social distancing. 

“So, until Aug 1, protect yourselves, many would be going home to celebrate Hari Raya (Aidiladha) next week, and I hope the standard operating procedures will be complied with,” he said. 

On July 20, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in his special message on the latest development of the Recovery Movement Control Order, said the government was mulling the possibility of making it compulsory to use face masks in public places as COVID-19 still remained a threat. 

This follows a rise in COVID-19 infections globally, including Malaysia. 

Singapore, for instance, in April made it compulsory for all those who leave home to wear face masks.