: The government's announcement on the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) means that Malaysia is now entering Phase 3 under the directive.
Although netizens through some online polls agree that the MCO needs to be extended, do the people as a whole understand the importance of the MCO and why should the order continue?
The graph curves of the COVID-19 cases still show no signs of recovery in the near future, despite Malaysians living under the MCO for nearly a month since it was enforced on March 18, even the red zones of the COVID-19 cases have continued to grow.
Various factors are said to have contributed to the situation, including the stubbornness of a few people to comply with the MCO until various attempts to break the infection chain has not been entirely successful.
Most recently, the Hulu Selangor district has been categorised as a red zone after recording more than 41 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of red zones in the country to 25, as of yesterday.
The MCO, carried out in stages, with the first phase on March 18 to 31, and later extended from April 1 to 14 (phase two), saw an increase in number of people being arrested for defying it.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said 7,479 individuals have been arrested since the MCO enforced nationwide took effect on March 18 until yesterday. As a step towards getting higher compliance with the MCO, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has started issuing RM1,000 compound notices to violators.
The Road Transport Department (JPJ) personnel would now assist the police and the armed forces in mounting roadblocks nationwide.
Every day at the COVID-19 daily press conference in Malaysia, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah will surely repeat his advice - stay at home, wash hands regularly, practice one-metre social distancing - with the aim of breaking the deadly chain of COVID-19 infections.
As of noon today, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases involving various clusters in Malaysia was 4,346 cases while the death toll was 70 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham has repeatedly stressed the importance of preparing for the worst and hope for the best outcomes.
Unfortunately, there are still people violating the MCO such as visiting relatives and the number of vehicles on the road is also increasing.
To date, four locations have been placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) -Simpang Renggam in Johor, Hulu Langat (Selangor), and three buildings in Kuala Lumpur namely the Menara City One at Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion along Jalan Masjid India.
Three states continue to record the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases, namely Selangor with 1,148 cases, Kuala Lumpur (713) and Johor (523).
Accordingly, the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) has called for the MCO to be extended until after the Aidilfitri celebration in May to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The group warned that the risks of spreading the virus particularly to the elderly, in the case of a ‘balik kampung’ exodus, were very real.
Meanwhile, an online poll conducted by the National Security Council (MKN) to gauge whether the MCO should be extended, found 88 per cent of 310,454 people who responded want it to be extended.
Similar sentiments were also shared by netizens in a poll conducted by the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) via its social media site, where 86 per cent of the 26,300 respondents agreed that the MCO should be extended after April 14.
The extension was also in line with a statement by WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that aggressive measures such as implementing the MCO could give a country the opportunity to contain the virus.
To address the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and people's lives, various initiatives are being implemented by the government to reduce the burden of the people, including the RM250 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package and additional RM10 billion for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).