COVID-19: Johor to comply with federal government decision to open up economic sectors carefully, says Chief Minister

COVID-19: Johor to comply with federal government decision to open up economic sectors carefully, says Chief Minister

Johor Bahru skyline causeway Singapore Malaysia
This photo taken on May 4, 2018 shows the skyline of the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru as seen from neighbouring Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

ISKANDAR PUTERI, Johor: The Johor state government said on Monday (May 4) that it will heed the federal government’s call to implement a conditional movement control order (MCO), with economic sectors being opened up but health protocols kept in place.

Speaking during a press conference on Monday, Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said the Johor state government is “prepared to face any possibilities”.

“We have prepared quarantine facilities and enough healthcare resources. We know that implementing the conditional MCO is a united effort, and this means that the state government, the state’s health council, police and the state’s security council will work together to successfully enforce the conditional MCO,” said Mr Hasni.

Johor’s decision came after other states, including Kedah, Sabah, Sarawak and Penang, expressed reservations about the federal government's announcement to ease COVID-19 restrictions and allow almost all companies to resume businesses from Monday.

READ: Malaysia reports 122 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said during his Labour Day Message that almost all economic sectors, will be reopened with safe distancing measures and health protocols in place.

However, he added that schools, cinemas, karaoke lounges, reflexology centres, nightclubs, Ramadan bazaars, Hari Raya Aidilfitri bazaars, sale carnivals as well as conferences and exhibitions, will remain closed.

Hasni Mohammad new chief minister
Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has appointed UMNO's Hasni Mohammad as Johor's new chief minister. (Photo: Johor's royal press office) 

Mr Hasni stressed on Monday that health protocols must be adhered to as businesses start to open. 

He gave an example of how a factory in Kota Tinggi could be forced to remain closed during the conditional MCO period while the same type of factory in Johor Bahru could be opened. This is because the latter has enough manpower and resources to observe the standard operating procedures to curb the spread of COVID-19, he said.

For Johor to successfully implement the conditional MCO, Mr Hasni said that state authorities will ensure tight border control at the state’s entry points, including at its land checkpoints with Singapore.

OTHER STATES TO HOLD OFF IMPLEMENTING CONDITIONAL MCO 

Meanwhile, other states have decided not to implement the conditional MCO as stipulated by the federal government.

Kedah, Sabah, Pahang, Penang, Kelantan and Sarawak have decided to hold off completely from easing MCO restrictions while Selangor, Perak and Negeri Sembilan said they would limit the number of businesses allowed to resume operations and restrict dine-ins at restaurants.

Selangor, the state with the most number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country, said that no restaurant or eatery in the state will be permitted to offer dine-in services. State residents may only exercise in community parks.

Mukhriz Mahathir
Kedah Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir. (File photo: Bernama) 

Kedah’s Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir said he acknowledged that economic recovery was a reason for easing the restrictions. 

However, he maintained that the Kedah state government did not want to see a sudden surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. “Human life is our priority,” he reportedly said. 

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Source: CNA/am(aw)

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