Don’t be overzealous in enforcing face mask ruling, says Fomca

A consumer advocacy group has urged the government to not be over-enthusiastic in enforcing the mandatory use of face masks.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) chief executive officer and secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said it was important for the government to continuously monitor the situation on the ground to ensure the people are not burdened by the new ruling.

“There will be grey areas that need to be studied. Although it is only mandatory to wear a mask in crowded areas, people will come up with their own ruling,” he said.

“We have seen during the early days of the Movement Control Order (MCO) where although the government said the usage of masks was not mandatory, there were owners of premises who denied entry to those who did not wear a mask.”

He also said it was vital for the government to monitor enforcement activities to get better insights on how people are responding to the ruling.

While the government has listed down areas like markets, tourist destinations, cinemas, public transportation among others as crowded places, Selvaraj said it was pertinent to define what is a crowded area in terms of numbers.

“We need to define what is a crowded place. How many people need to be there before it is considered crowded … These are some of the grey areas that need to be looked into,” he said.

On the Health Ministry’s announcement last week that the government was planning to give out free masks for those from the lower-income groups, Selvaraj said the distribution aspect of the masks will become a problem.

“There are people who have not received their free masks which were promised during the MCO. The government has recognised this, yet we have made the use of masks mandatory for everyone before ironing out these factors.

“The mandatory requirement is a correct policy but people should not be burdened by it,” he added.

Separately, Klang MP Charles Santiago said having to replace face masks daily can take a whack at people’s pockets, especially the poor, and for that reason alone, many may not adhere to the ruling.

“A family of four using six pieces of single-use face-masks a day (160 pieces a month) and paying RM1.20 per piece, will fork out about RM216 a month,” he said, adding this constitutes about 20 per cent of the country’s minimum wage of RM1,200.

He added the ruling could also see those in the B40, lower M40 category, migrant workers and refugees re-using face masks to cut costs, and putting themselves and others at risk.

Santiago urged the government to subsidise the production of reusable cloth masks to help reduce public expenditure.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal.

CARRY ON, MUHYIDDIN

Umno and PAS will still throw their support behind Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as they have no prime ministerial candidate who can placate the rakyat.

Nevertheless, an Umno leader told Twentytwo13 the clock is ticking as the Muhyiddin “feel good” factor will fade once the bank moratorium ends in October and as Malaysia and the world economy continue to take a beating due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, Parliament could be dissolved next month to pave way for a general election by November.

SOME PUBS AND NIGHTCLUBS INTRODUCE BREATHALYSER TEST KITS

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said nightclubs and pub operators have taken the initiative to get their own breathalyser test kits with the introduction of stiffer penalties for drink driving.

“There is some awareness on this and some entertainment outlet operators have started purchasing breathalyser test kits.

“Although such breathalyser tests on patrons are not mandatory, we are making it a condition for outlet operators who participate in our awareness campaign to advise their patrons to adhere to the law,” Dr Wee said when answering Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit) in Dewan Rakyat.

MYSEJAHTERA A MUST FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the MySejahtera application is compulsory for businesses nationwide to facilitate the contact tracing processes.

He said alternatives such as Selangkah (by the Selangor government) can be used but the public must register via MySejahtera.The Attorney-General’s Chambers would be gazetting the mandatory use of the application soon although business operators in rural areas and in locations without Internet access would still be allowed to continue manual registration.

REMEMBERING ‘IRON MAN’

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah expressed their condolences to the family of former national footballer V. Krishnasamy who died yesterday.

In a statement posted on Istana Negara’s Facebook page, Al-Sultan Abdullah praised the national football legend who had brought glory to the nation in the 1970s and hoped Krishnasamy’s family will remain calm as they go through this difficult time.

Krishnasamy, who played for Penang, Perak and the Prisons Department, was called Iron Man as he was always eager to get back in the game even after an injury.

GOOD DRAW FOR MALAYSIA IN THOMAS CUP

Malaysia is in Group A with Indonesia, England and the Netherlands for this year’s Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11. Malaysia must finish in the top two to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Defending champions China are in Group B while Denmark and Japan, the 2016 and 2014 winners, have been drawn in Group C and Group D respectively.

The Malaysian women were not so lucky as they are in Group B with South Korea, Indonesia and Australia.