KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The Health Ministry today recounted how Malaysians’ lives have changed under the country’s first-ever movement control order (MCO) to slow the spread of Covid-19, while also pointing out that Malaysians would have to continue with the “new normal” adopted as part of their lifestyles regardless of what the prime minister announces today.
Malaysia has been under the MCO and a subsequent relaxed version known as the conditional movement control order (CMCO) for more than two months since March 18, with the sixth phase or the current CMCO scheduled to end in two days’ time on June 9.
In a Facebook post, the administrator of the Health Ministry’s official Facebook page noted that Malaysians are eagerly awaiting news on whether the country would no longer remain under the CMCO or if it would be extended.
“The whole country is waiting for 3pm. Just a few more hours left before Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announces the latest MCO development. At 3pm later, Malaysians will know whether the MCO will end or be extended or possibly also replaced by semi EMCO (enhanced movement control order) at high-risk areas,” the Facebook post said.
In the same post, the Health Ministry then went on to note how Malaysians “became a part of history” when the country was first placed under an MCO on March 18, recounting the ways that the Covid-19 pandemic had drastically changed Malaysians’ lifestyle.
“Never imagined, our daily routine changed in the blink of an eye. Quiet roads, shopping malls closed, public transport ceasing operations, airports closed, even convenience stores that operate 24 hours 365 days in a year, 7-Eleven operated with time restrictions,” the post said.
Some of the earlier restrictions have been relaxed under the CMCO that kicked in since May 4, with public transport services now operating as usual but at a reduced capacity and with Covid-19 precautions in place, while traffic has picked up on roads as more return to work, and malls have also been allowed to resume operations with the necessary precautions.
“Since MCO, our lives were all affected. Like it or not, it is an experience that will be recorded in our country’s history,” the Facebook post said, adding that certain things would remain in Malaysians’ memory such as the popular Facebook page Masak Apa Tak Jadi Hari Ini Official documenting failed home-cooking attempts, fictional character Mak Cik Kiah used by the government to explain its economic stimulus package to counter Covid-19 effects, and the Ke Sana Ke Sini shuffle dance.
“No tradition of balik kampung (returning to hometowns) in conjunction with Aidilfitri, the celebrations of Hari Kaamatan and Gawai festival that were not like normal are our sacrifices for the country,” the Facebook post said, referring to the strict ban on interstate travel for balik kampung trips during the Hari Raya festivities this year.
The Facebook post also thanked the Covid-19 frontliners, while also noting that the relatively lower figures for Covid-19 transmission among locals indicate a preliminary success for all Malaysians due to their compliance with standard operating procedures.
“When the decision is announced later, we will all continue to live with the new way of life ‘accompanied’ by Covid-19,” it concluded when referring to the prime minister’s expected announcement this afternoon.
“No one knows when we can return to living according to the usual norm. Our hope is for the vaccine to be found quickly,” it added.
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