KUALA LUMPUR, August 3 — Despite public demands for clarity on the mandatory use of masks, the National Security Council’s (NSC) updated standard operating procedures (SOPs) have not listed specific areas that require face coverings.
The NSC’s “New Norms” SOP dated August 3 on its website — published after authorities issued fines since August 1 against 127 people for not wearing face masks in “crowded” public places — states two conditions that require wearing face masks.
“It is compulsory to wear face masks when having symptoms like cough, cold, or sore throat.
“It is compulsory to wear face masks especially in crowded public areas.”
The Attorney-General Chambers’ federal gazette portal also has not published a regulation specific to face coverings under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 that provides fines of up to RM1,000, maximum six months’ imprisonment, or both for violations. Previous regulations related to the Movement Control Order (MCO) during the Covid-19 outbreak have been gazetted under that Act.
Ismail Sabri told a press meet earlier today that wearing face masks was only mandatory in public transport (buses, LRT, KTM, taxis, and e-hailing vehicles) and in “crowded public places”, like public markets, pasar tani, pasar malam, and supermarkets, tourist spots, and cinemas.
He further listed exemptions to the face mask rule, where people are not required to wear face coverings at home, in private vehicles, when doing physical activities, and children aged two years and below.
The minister conceded that the police would be cancelling summonses issued against people over the weekend for not wearing face masks in their own vehicles. He also noted that wearing face masks was not mandatory in large areas, for example if one is alone at the beach, even though police previously fined 26 people RM1,000 for not wearing face coverings on a beach in Kota Tinggi, Johor.