Relaxing MCO too early could lead to more ruin, warns Tiong

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, Apr 11: The announcement made by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to allow more business sectors to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO) starting next week is untimely and contradicts the government’s directive for the people to be patient and to stay at home, said Progressive Democratic Party president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

At the same time, he also hoped that Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has set clear criteria for these additional sectors to operate or there would be extra dissatisfaction, confusion, and controversy.

“There are huge disadvantages in allowing more businesses to operate at this time, particularly opening the policy to misuse by irresponsible people eager to get out of their homes.

“It would make the government’s job of enforcing the MCO much harder when more businesses are allowed to operate, in turn depending on other types of businesses and draw customers to their outlets. It will also be more difficult to ensure that infections do not occur when more places are allowed to open.

“I believe that many more people will not agree to relax the MCO at this moment. Better to have short-term pain than long-term ruin. Better to bear some economic losses now, than to let the outbreak outweigh the progress we have made so far to contain Covid-19. Life is more important,” said Tiong in a statement issued here today.

He also cautioned Azmin of such a move could disrupt the effectiveness of MCO which has been extended to April 28.

“Traffic flows will increase, people’s movement will also go up. It will place greater stress on medical personnel’s efforts to carry out sanitation and disinfection and for police and military to control traffic. It is more important for us to focus on disinfection than to rush to open for business.

“This action will cause further complications for enforcement personnel on the ground who has to decide whose movement is genuine and who is merely taking advantage to get out for a stroll. This inadvertently puts more pressure on our personnel’s task to contain outbreaks. If more outbreaks occur as a cause of the relaxed MCO, it will undo the hard work of the whole country in the past month, said Tiong.

The Bintulu MP also hoped that the Government should be learning from the experience of other countries.

“Some countries had sacrificed many innocent lives by not strictly implementing controls which led to runaway outbreaks of Covid-19. All of this could have been avoided. We should not begin to be complacent just before the rate of infections has slowed down.

“The number of confirmed cases are still in the hundreds daily and new deaths are still being recorded on a daily basis as well.

“It is not time to relax. Wuhan in China took about three months to get to a day of zero confirmed cases. South Korea imposed a high degree of self-discipline cooperation, with strict social distancing rules and collective civic consciousness before finally flattening their epidemic curve,” he said.

Tiong also urged the government to rethink relaxing the MCO by allowing more sectors to operate until a time when the pandemic has truly been suppressed convincingly.

“Then and only then, should we begin to consider restarting the national economy. Let’s be proactive and not reactive in this regard and inspire confidence and security in Malaysians,” said Tiong.—DayakDaily