Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the decision to implement the Movement Control Order (MCO), despite not being a popular decision with the people, was a necessary move.
He said if no firm and drastic action was taken, the country could plunge into a health catastrophe and face a national crisis.
The prime minister said the MCO was needed to save the lives and future of the people.
“I know, this is not a popular decision. Some are angry with me (and ask) why resort to this when Muslims will celebrate 1 Syawal tomorrow. You can’t travel back to your hometown, you can’t even visit family and friends. Is this government really cruel?
“I am not a tyrant. I made this decision to protect the lives of all of you. If I allow house-to-house visits, there is the possibility guests who visit your home are COVID-19 positive,” he said in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message broadcast over local television stations last night.
Muhyiddin said if house-to-house visits were allowed, many could possibly be infected as most COVID-19 patients do not show any symptoms.
This could likely cause COVID-19 cases in the country to soar to tens of thousands a day once Aidilfitri is celebrated, he added.
The prime minister said the country was at a critical point that required an immediate response from the government.
“We have once again enforced inter-district and inter-state travel bans as well as barred social and education activities and also sports except for individual sports in open areas.
“Eid visits are also not allowed. Aidilfitri prayers in mosques and surau are allowed but with a limited number in attendance,” he said.
However, Muhyiddin said compared to last year, more Muslims were able to perform Tarawih prayers at mosques and surau this year by adhering to standard operating procedures (SOP).
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said despite MCO being implemented, the government had not shut down the economic and industrial sectors while businesses, subject to strict SOPs, could continue to operate.
Based on previous experience, he said the country stand to lose almost RM2.4 billion a day and the unemployment rate would increase if the economic sector was shut down, adding that this could prove detrimental to the country and inconvenience the people.
“Therefore, this time the government will not close the economic sector, but strict monitoring will be done on business premises, factories, and hostels where workers live to prevent infection in related sectors,” he said.
As such, the prime minister called on employers and employees to always adhere to SOPs in the workplace and also implement a work from home policy.
In his message, Muhyiddin also expressed his highest appreciation and gratitude to all frontliners for their tireless service, hard work and sacrifices to ensure the well-being and safety of all.