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Malaysia’s security council to discuss possible MCO extension

Commuters have their temperature checked at the KL Sentral LRT station on Day One of the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur May 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2, 2021, The Star/ANN. The National Security Council will have a special meeting on Tuesday (Feb 2) to discuss a possible extension of the movement control order (MCO), The Straits Times reported.

“The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and we will hear the report from the Health Ministry before any decision is made,” Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters after visiting roadblocks in Sentul and Gombak on Monday.

When asked if more sectors should be closed owing to the high number of daily Covid-19 cases, especially within the last three days, he said there has to be a balance.

“We don’t want our rakyat to die from Covid-19 but at the same time, we also don’t want them to die of starvation,” said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.

“I went to a roadside stall to buy food recently and the operator told me that their income had decreased by as much as 50 per cent because they can only offer takeout.”

He added: “Some of them depleted their savings completely during the last MCO, which lasted three months. Can you imagine how they will survive if we implement the same MCO now?”

Mr Ismail Sabri added that this was why it was important to strike a balance between safeguarding lives and economic interests.

He said some small- and micro-business operators rely on their daily income to put food on the table for their families.

As for Chinese New Year, Mr Ismail Sabri said standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the celebrations are being drawn up.

He said that the National Security Council, Health Ministry and National Unity Ministry will come up with the standard operating procedures.

“The technical committee has asked them to come up with the SOP and they are currently drawing it up and will present it to us soon,” the minister said.

“We do not want to make any decisions now as the status of the MCO could change within two weeks,” said Mr Ismail Sabri, adding that the SOP would be announced one week before Chinese New Year or, at the latest, two to three days in advance.

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