KUALA LUMPUR, August 28 — The government has extended the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) until the end of the year, which means law enforcement on Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) will apply till then.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also said the government would impose targeted lockdowns on localities that report a surge of coronavirus cases.
“This means that the government still needs the mechanism of the law to continue efforts to prevent and control the transmission of Covid-19.
“Therefore, for your sake, the government has decided to extend the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) will be extended until December 31, 2020,” Muhyiddin said in a televised address today.
With the extension of the RMCO, law enforcement can continue to be taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) to ensure compliance with health SOPs and protocols.
The government has made it mandatory from August 1 to wear face coverings in crowded public areas. Authorities have also been issuing compounds or remanding individuals for not physically distancing, for failing to keep records of people visiting premises, or for opening business premises beyond permitted operating hours. The maximum compound under Act 342 is RM1,000.
Muhyiddin added that Malaysians and foreigners entering the country from overseas would continue to be quarantined for 14 days at quarantine stations.
“No one is exempted from the rules and any individual who flouts them will be punished accordingly. In line with that, I support the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) suggestion to increase the compound rate for related offences at least two or three times the current rate.
“However, this matter must be considered carefully first and Act 342 must first be amended.”
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently proposed multiplying by 10 times the fine for compoundable offences under Act 342 from RM1,000 to RM10,000.
Malaysians have widely criticised perceived double standards in enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs, as police have issued immediate RM1,000 compounds for wearing face masks incorrectly and others have been jailed or fined up to RM12,000 for breaking home quarantine, while Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali was only given an RM1,000 compound for violating quarantine rules upon returning from Turkey last month. The Kuala Nerus MP from PAS has not been charged in court, but he is currently under a police investigation.
Muhyiddin also said today that the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry was currently negotiating with manufacturers and suppliers to reduce the price of face masks.
Since August 11, the government reduced the ceiling price of face masks to RM1 from RM1.50 per unit, a move objected by community pharmacies who said the sudden drop of the ceiling price would force them to sell face masks at a loss, as they had already purchased large stocks at a higher cost.
“At this time, almost all sectors have been allowed to operate except for a small number of businesses that are still prohibited like nightclubs and entertainment centres. These are places where it would be difficult to practice the new norms.
“The entry of foreign tourists is still prohibited to avoid the transmission of imported cases into the country. Sports activities are allowed, but without the participation of spectators and international visitors,” said Muhyiddin.