Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a press conference on Tuesday (9 Feb) that restaurants and other eateries in Malaysia will be permitted to operate dine-in services with only two persons per table starting today.
He said that the National Security Council came up with the decision during a special meeting on Monday, adding that retail businesses such as fashion outlets will be allowed to reopen, subject to strict standard operating procedures.
The minister said the decision was made to ensure the sustainability of retail businesses such as clothing and accessories, car accessories, handicrafts, children’s toys, and sports equipment.
He clarified that this decision is on the same basis that the government agreed to allow night markets, barbershops, and car wash centres to reopen recently, noting that none of the COVID-19 clusters were linked to these business sectors.
Meanwhile, he said all migrant workers of the aforementioned sectors are required to undergo compulsory COVID-19 swab tests.
This relaxation in movement control order (MCO) 2.0 rules has stirred up confusion among netizens.
Over on Facebook, netizens flooded the comment section, asking whether the nation is still under MCO when almost all business sectors were given permission to operate.
Several users also voiced their complaints, saying that the implementation of MCO has caused traffic congestion due to roadblocks by authorities, which resulted in them being stuck on the road for hours.
Malaysian government implemented the first MCO last year on 18 March, where complete restrictions were imposed on movement and assembly as well as on international and domestic travel.
Government and private premises were also ordered to shut down temporarily — with the exception of those involved in essential services.
Meanwhile, a number of netizens questioned the suspension of Parliament sessions while most sectors are allowed to operate.
One netizen called the government as a “failure”, elaborating that its last-minute decision could pose more danger to the people to get infected with the virus.
Another user slammed the government, labelling it “fickle-minded and clueless”.
Meanwhile, another commenter reminded people to just stay at home — despite whatever changes in standard operating procedures (SOPs) enforced by the government — and only go out when necessary to ensure the safety of all people.