No New Year celebration, stricter SOPs possible

by AZREEN HANI / Pic by BERNAMA

THERE will be no New Year celebration as mass gatherings remain prohibited under the National Security Council list, said Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture).

He said it will be difficult for people to maintain social distancing if such events are allowed, especially in public areas.

“The events will result in a lot of people gathering in one location, making it difficult to practise physical distancing,” Ismail Sabri said in a daily press briefing yesterday.

However, there will be leniency for families to usher in the new year by celebrating it at home.

Ismail Sabri added that the ministry does not discount the possibility of imposing stricter regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19, taking a cue from lax compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

He said the overseas returnees must be placed in mandatory quarantine centres as some violated the obligatory isolation, by going out and throwing off their pink wristbands.

Additionally, the government has given two options to the Health Ministry (MoH) to impose penalties against employers who fail to bring their foreign workers to undergo the Covid-19 screening test beginning Jan 1.

According to Ismail Sabri, the punishment that can be imposed is either a compound of RM1,000 or taking the employer who committed the offence to court.

He also clarified that the amount of compound cannot be increased despite some dissatisfaction as it is accorded in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan had previously said the cost of the screening test will be borne by the employer.

However, foreign workers who contribute to the Social Security Organisation can get tested at clinics appointed by the organisation.

Meanwhile, the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (KL) will be extended until Jan 14 next year.

Ismail Sabri said the decision was made upon advice by MoH, following rising Covid-19 cases in these states.

All nine districts in Selangor, including Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and Sabak Bernam that were previously green zones, are now declared as red zones.

“For 14 days, from Dec 14 to Dec 27, there were a total of 8,194 Covid-19 positive cases in Selangor, and all districts in the state have become red zones,” the minister said.

There are a cumulative 12,494 positive cases in KL as of Dec 27.

The CMCO in these three states and several localities in other states had been scheduled to end on Dec 31.

For other states, the CMCO was also extended for Southwest Mukim 12 and Northeast Mukim 13 in Penang; Seremban (Negri Sembilan); and Johor Baru and Batu Pahat (Johor). 

 

Read our previous report here

CMCO in Selangor, KL extended until Jan 14