Penang CM: No decision yet on Ramadan bazaars

Opalyn Mok
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks to the press during a media conference at Komtar March 9, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 1 — The Penang state government is still undecided on whether to allow the operation of Ramadan bazaars when the fasting month starts later this month.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state excos had discussed the matter but have yet to reach a decision.

“We will continue to monitor the situation before a decision on it is made,” he said, referring to the movement control order (MCO) until April 14 which was implemented following the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

He added that both city councils have not issued licenses for Ramadan bazaars in the state yet.

On the quarantine procedures for returning Malaysians from overseas at the Penang International Airport, Chow said the state health department is still awaiting instructions from the National Security Council (NSC).

“Most of those arriving back from overseas will arrive at KLIA but if those arrive direct to Penang and the order to send them to immediate quarantine is implemented, then we will prepare a quarantine centre to comply,” he said.

Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said all Malaysians returning to the country will be immediately quarantined for 14 days at government quarantine centres effective from April 3 onwards.

Chow, who attended the NSC meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said he had raised the proposal of operation hours for wet markets to be limited from 6am to 12pm and for wholesale markets from 4am to 10am and this was agreed by the council members.

“These operation hours are also applicable in Penang but I understand that some wholesale markets in Penang face challenges in operating within these hours as they have to wait for supplies coming in from other states,” he said.

He said these wholesale markets can submit their proposals to the city councils and a decision will be made after considering their proposals.

He added that the Economic Action Council (EAC) will study the proposals by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and assist this sector in facing the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In regard to this, the state government will also look into the suggestions raised by the representatives of the Penang SMEs and I will make an announcement on our decision the soonest possible,” he said.

He said it is the state’s principle to work together with the private sector in rebuilding the state economy post Covid-19.

Earlier, Chow said the police had arrested a total of 208 individuals for breaching the MCO as of March 31.

“As such, stop being stubborn and obey the given instructions,” he reminded Penangites.

He called on all to be strong and to remain indoors, reduce outdoor activities, practice social distancing and obey the instructions given by the authorities so that the MCO can end after April 14.

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