Under fire, Ismail Sabri says work-from-home policy to limit movement without hurting economy

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
·2-min read
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 23, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 23, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today the work-from-home policy is meant to limit as much public movement as possible, but without hurting businesses and industries.

“The idea is to limit public movement,” the minister said in the National Security Council daily Covid-19 media briefing here.

“The policy involves up to a million workers. These workers will be moving about and also interacting. By asking them to work from home, we can limit the movement of a million people.

“Hopefully this can break the chain of infection,” he added.

Ismail was responding to criticism and allegations of double standards against the National Security Council’s decision to implement the policy only for workers in managerial and supervisory roles.

The minister said the WFH policy could nudge more people to stay at home, even as it allows retail sectors like restaurants and malls to remain open.

“The less they interact the better it is. It’s the same idea as us limiting the number of persons from a household that can go out to just two the less people are out the better.

“Yes, markets and malls are open because these people need to be there to earn. But other workers don’t need to be physically present in the office and work can still be done,” he added.

Ismail and the Ministry of Trade and Industries (Miti) drew public flak over the many communication blunders that have caused widespread confusion, among others about the government’s work-from-home policy implemented starting today.

An estimated 800,000 private sector employees and 200,000 civil servants in management and supervisory roles in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Sabah and Labuan are told to work from home starting Oct 22 until the end of the conditional movement control order.

Miti which came out with the policy said yesterday that only a maximum of 10 per cent of those in the said positions can be in the office.

The working hours will be limited to between 10am to 2pm for three days in a week.

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