pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE government has announced a new price cap on face masks. Effective Aug 15, the price for face mask is at RM1.20 per piece, 30 sen lower from its current price.
This comes after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a recent televised address that the government was considering making the use of face masks mandatory in public spaces.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi told the Dewan Rakyat that the wholesale price for the product would also be reduced from the current RM1.45 per unit to RM1.15 from the same date.
“Based on the ministry’s surveillance and monitoring, face mask production and distribution are sufficient and supported by import.
“So, there is no supply issue,” he said during question time at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Nanta Linggi was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim (Perikatan Nasional-Batang Lupar) on the rationale behind face mask price reduction.
He said the government has been conducting daily checks and monitoring activities on prices and supply since early this year. As of July 22, a total of 42,901 premises were checked with compounds amounting to RM392,400 issued to 55 sellers and their products confiscated.
This new price cap came following the government’s move to make wearing face mask mandatory in crowded public areas and public transportation effective Aug 1.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was taken due to the increase in new Covid-19 cases in the past week.
While the public can wear homemade face masks, Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said they must comply with the specifications set by the World Health Organisation — three layers to prevent the risk of contamination.
“Improper application by allowing it to hang around the neck or covering only part of the nose and mouth is not advisable as it may increase the risk of infection to the wearer,” he said in his Covid-19 briefing yesterday.
Ismail Sabri said although the mandatory use of face mask will take effect on Aug 1, the public is encouraged to practise the rule from now on.
Before this, the government did not make it mandatory to wear face masks considering the costs and those who were less fortunate.
Meanwhile, the senior minister also said the Compliance Operation Task Force found that most restaurants did not comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) lately.
Therefore, the authorities will conduct regular inspections in restaurants and stalls.
“No more warnings or advice will be given. The authority will take stern action and the premises will be closed if they fail to comply with the SOPs.
“They will be compounded for not more than RM1,000 or jailed for not more than six months or both under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988,” he added.
Speaking on border control, Ismail Sabri said the government would continue with the closed border policy for Thailand and Indonesia.
“Currently, the international border is only open to Singapore but is limited to certain groups of people such as traders,” he said.
Yesterday, nine new Covid-19 cases were recorded involving six local transmission and three import cases, bringing the country’s overall total to 8,840.
There were 143 active cases being treated at health facilities nationwide with five placed in the intensive care unit, and two under ventilator support.
Eight patients were discharged, bringing the total recovered cases to 8,574, or 97%. The death tally remained at 123.
On the increasing Covid-19 cases in Sarawak, the Health Ministry do not rule out the possibility of enforcing an Enhanced Movement Control Order in the localities.
There are now 10 new Covid-19 clusters in Sarawak, however, the situation is under control and the contact tracing activities and prevention measures have been taken. — Additional reporting by S BIRRUNTHA