Commentary: Pissed off with tightened COVID-19 restrictions

With this MCO, Johor residents face a double whammy after coping for months with restrictions on commute to Singapore the place many used to earn livelihoods, says Serina Rahman. This week, residents of six states scrambled in response to the extensively anticipated information of Malaysia’s reinstatement of Motion Management Orders (MCO) on Monday (Jan 11).

However the larger shock got here from the sudden declaration of a nationwide state of emergency the next day. For weeks, Malaysians watched as new each day COVID-19 infections climbed to 2,000 and extra, in anticipation of contemporary curbs however few had anticipated a full suite of restrictions to kick in so shortly.

The return to the unique 10km journey restrict and different limitations for Johor, Selangor, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and three federal territories left many questioning whether or not their companies and workplaces should shut totally for 2 weeks.

In the long run, the MCO allowed extra to operate with strict guidelines and cut-off dates, however the police are promising far harsher enforcement with threats of fines of RM1,000 (US$250) and fewer leeway for journey past 10km. Different states had an MCO with fewer restrictions imposed, however all bulletins had been initially imprecise on particulars.

This would possibly clarify the panic-buying the day earlier than. Throughout the nation, lengthy queues crammed hypermarkets and petrol stations overflowed with autos, as Malaysians readied themselves for a harsh few weeks. Highways had been jammed with last-minute journeys throughout state strains earlier than the deadline.

In Johor, roads into town centre had been unusually full for the primary time for the reason that unique MCO restrictions had been slapped on in March 2020, as individuals headed out for a final likelihood to dine or store as a bunch.

On Sunday, previous to the MCO announcement, Deputy-Normal of Well being, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had primed the bottom, expressing grave concern as he noticed 71 COVID-19 deaths within the first 9 days of 2021 in comparison with 100 such fatalities within the previous 9 months.

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