Mandatory face mask: Malaysians generally compliant, self-disciplined

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin launched the National Month Celebration and Jalur Gemilang Kibar Campaign (PM Office)

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin launching the National Month Celebration and Jalur Gemilang Kibar Campaign (PM Office)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have generally complied with the government’s directive to wear face masks in crowded public places to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to national news agency Bernama, people around the capital seem to have taken the matter seriously, especially in crowded public places, by using their face masks as soon as they alight from their vehicles.

Salesman M. Sri Mathavan, 18, views safety as a primary concern for his family as he hails from a large one and has a younger sibling at home. His family’s well-being is what motivates him to always wear a face mask while working.

“I have seven siblings and the youngest is still a baby, and therefore, I am worried about bringing the COVID-19 pandemic home,” he said.

“Therefore, I follow all the recommendations set by the government such as washing my hands (with soap) and bathing before gathering with my family. What the government is doing is right, I will definitely comply (with the government’s directives) because I cannot afford to pay the fine. I take at least three face masks with me daily when I go out.”

Watch shopkeeper, Ng Nam Fooi, 62, said the enforcement of face masks is to ensure public safety.

“I need to wear face mask as I engage with customers everyday. I have been using face masks whenever I go to work or public places even before the government’s implementation (of the face mask rule),” he said.

Puteri Nur Anisa Megat Ismail, 29, said she gives hygiene and health important priorities for herself and family.

“Everyone has to remember that this pandemic is very dangerous so we must exercise self-control. I take precautions too as my neighbour is a 65-year-old mother and I too have a four-year-old nephew who comes over often,” she said.

In Penang, a Bernama survey in George Town showed that the public complied with the government’s directives by wearing face masks and practising physical distancing in public places such as markets and food outlets.

Visiting the Jelutong market, Tan Lean Yee, 54, said she felt safer with all shoppers wearing face masks and practising physical distancing.

“Previously, I was a bit worried when visiting public places because there are many people who do not wear face masks but today, I found that apart from food places, everyone has started wearing masks,” she said.

However, in Butterworth, police had to deal with 20 individuals in Bagan Ajam for not wearing face masks in public places and not complying with physical distancing.

The individuals, in their 20s, were detained at the Butterworth Outer Ring Highway Bagan Ajam rest and service stop at 1.50 am.

On July 23, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government had made it mandatory to wear face masks in public places following the return of COVID-19 pandemic globally, including in Malaysia. Violators faced fines of up to RM1,000 if they failed to comply with the rules.

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