TEMCO in Kedah and Perlis ends today

Foreigners will be allow to perform prayers at mosques nationwide beginning next month

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) imposed on Kampung Sanglang and Kampung Tanah Timbul, Perlis, as well as four mukims in Kubang Pasu and Padang Terap, Kedah, ends today.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was made after taking into account that there was no new positive case following the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) active screening of the entire population in those areas.

“The MoH screened 1,397 residents in Kampung Sanglang and Kampung Tanah Timbul, as well as more than 7,000 residents in Kubang Pasu and Padang Terap.

“So, the special ministerial meeting has agreed to end the TEMCO in these areas,” he said in his Recovery MCO press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

As for the Tawar cluster, which had impacted Baling and Sik in Kedah, Ismail Sabri said MoH had not advocated TEMCO for the four districts that have been affected by Covid-19.

However, he said the authorities would only conduct targeted lockdowns in affected areas similar to the TEMCO in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

On another note, Ismail Sabri said foreigners would soon be allowed to perform prayers at mosques nationwide beginning Sept 1.

He added that foreigners must adhere to the same Covid-19 standard operating procedures such as physical distancing that applies during congregational prayers at mosques.

“The special ministerial meeting has given the green light for foreigners who are working here to perform prayers at mosques from Sept 1 onwards.

“However, they must register themselves before entering the mosques, wear face masks and the committee can still decide whether to allow people into the mosque based on capacity,” he said.

Additionally, Ismail Sabri also said Muslims are no longer required to bring their own “sejadah” (prayer mats) to the mosques during prayers.

“Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Islamic Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Al-Bakri has brought up many appeals on the matter and the authorities have considered it.

“The wearing of face masks is still mandatory and we will not compromise on that since we have already relaxed the rules on prayer mats,” he added.

However, the senior minister still encouraged Muslims to bring their own “sejadah” as it is safer and more hygienic in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said primary school students have been granted leniency to use face shields instead of face masks at school.

He added that the relaxation was given because the cost of purchasing disposable face masks burdens the families of poor students, especially those that are having many children.

“We received a lot of complaints as well as requests from the poorer segments of society who cannot afford the RM1 three-ply face masks. Therefore, we will allow them to wear a face shield.

“However, the use of face shields along with face masks is encouraged as it will be much safer for the kids,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the price of face shields is around RM3 to RM5 each, and unlike daily disposable face masks, it can last a few months.

At the same time, he added that MoH would come up with a guideline soon on how to wash and care for face shields.

Ismail Sabri added that Malaysian citizens who have foreign spouses and children who do not hold long-term permits would also be allowed back into the country.

He said they must apply for the necessary permits as soon as they pass customs and immigration at border entry points.

Similarly, the senior minister added that the government has also decided to allow Malaysians to visit ailing family members overseas.

However, he said they must also apply for a permit from the Immigration Department for these emergency cases.

For Malaysians who are working in the oil and gas sector, they are no longer required to undergo mandatory quarantine when signing on or off from offshore platforms.

“Malaysians will only need to take swab tests before they sign on to the platforms and they do not need to be quarantined.

“Similarly, when they are supposed to return onshore, they do not need to be quarantined and can return to their respective hometowns after being screened,” he added.

However, he said foreigners are still required to take the swab test and undergo the 14 days mandatory quarantine.