Football fans rejoice, but will enthusiasts go out to play?

Contact training will be allowed starting July 15, while competitions will begin on Aug 15 as Malaysia continues to open up more activities throughout the Recovery Movement Control Order.

Stakeholders, including those from the Youth and Sports Ministry, are elated with the announcement but admit they are unsure if the people are fully prepared to resume their activities despite the low number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

“The ministry is obviously happy. This will get sports and its industry moving,” said an insider who has close knowledge of discussions between the ministry, other stakeholders and the National Security Council.

“But there are also concerns whether enthusiasts will adhere strictly to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and if they will actually come out to play.”

The situation is akin to the Education Ministry’s initial plan for students to return to school in batches in the fourth quarter of the year.

Following concerns raised by parents, among others, that it was impossible to care for their children as they returned to work, schools opened their doors this month instead.

“And when schools are finally open, we’ve been getting feedback that some parents remain afraid of sending their children to school. This despite strict SOPs in place.

Gym operators also say several of their patrons are still adopting the wait-and-see approach although business resumed on June 15.

“It could be the same in sports too. But we need to start one way or the other,” the insider added.

As Malaysians return to normalcy, there are fears that the battle against Covid-19 will be taken for granted.

This even prompted Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to express concerns over the lack of compliance with the SOPs. The Sultan of Selangor, had on Wednesday, said a second wave of infections could emerge and impact the economy if people in the state continue to ignore the SOPs.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during his press briefing today also announced there will no longer be a limit on the number of people attending conferences, social gatherings or prayers in places of worships beginning July 15.

He also said family entertainment centres including family-oriented karaoke centres, edutainment centres for children and kids’ gymnasiums and arcade centres can resume operations on July 15.

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.

THE GALLOWS FOR KEVIN MORAIS MURDERERS

The Kuala Lumpur High Court sentenced six people, including pathologist Kol Dr. R Kunaseegaran, to death for the murder of Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais in 2015.

The five others are R. Dinishwaran, AK Thinesh Kumar, M. Vishwanath, S. Nimalan and moneylender S. Ravi Chandaran.

TUN M TURNS 95, GOES INDEPENDENT

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who turned 95 today urged members of the press to adhere to “real true news” to help shape the future of the country.

Dr M and five other former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) MPs announced they would remain as an independent bloc when Parliament meets next week. They will also stick to their earlier decision to support Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as their Prime Minister candidate and not Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The five MPs are Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Maszlee Malik, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah and Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh.

RAHANG ASSEMBLYMAN QUITS DAP

DAP’s Rahang assemblyman Mary Josephine Pritam Singh has left the party she has been with since 1974, claiming working and supporting party members and leaders in Negeri Sembilan has become a very big disappointment.

Although she resigned as a DAP life member and from all party posts, she said she will remain pro-Pakatan Harapan.

SPORTS MINISTER REKINDLES JOHOR AFFAIR

The cordial meeting between Tunku Ismail Ibrahim and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican came as a “win” for government officials following the Crown Prince of Johor’s cold treatment of Reezal’s predecessors.

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