KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — The government has reversed its decision to extend a strict lockdown on two public housing flats in Lahad Datu, Sabah, lifting it yesterday after residents protested against the extension.
The EMCO was first implemented from October 13 till October 26 at Pangsapuri Mutiara Kasih and Taman Khazanah Indah, Lahad Datu, Sabah. Then, it was extended from October 26 till November 9.
On November 9, the government decided to extend the EMCO for another two weeks until November 23, as according to Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the decision was made because there were still pending results from a second Covid-19 test performed on residents in the two PPR flats.
However, a few video clips that went viral on social media showed a group of residents from the two housing areas gathering in protest against the extension of EMCO after being under lockdown for four weeks, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported on November 9.
”Residents here are unsatisfied because the number of cases have already decreased and many are not willing to continue to bear the burden as they were only daily wage earners or small traders,” a resident said.
Some of the residents work and earn daily wages and all have families to feed. The residents said that their lives had been severely affected since the first implementation of EMCO. The EMCO on Pangsapuri Mutiara Kasih and Taman Khazanah Indah prohibits residents from leaving their homes,
Sabah’s Covid-19 spokesperson Masidi Manjun was quoted by FMT as saying that he would intervene and ask the Sabah state security council and the state health department to review the situation in the two housing areas.
Ismail Sabri said in a statement yesterday that the EMCO on Pangsapuri Mutiara Kasih and Taman Khazanah Indah was lifted on November 11, a month after it was implemented on October 13, when test results obtained on November 10 found all 5,189 second screening samples were negative.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also noted that there were no more positive Covid-19 cases in these two localities in the past 18 days, according to Ismail Sabri.
The Academy of Medicine Malaysia (AMM) had previously highlighted the impact of lockdowns on the economy, saying lockdowns limit movements and public life, which can be detrimental to small-and-medium businesses and low income households.