THE Penang government has decided to continue enforcing the movement control order (MCO) in the state until May 12.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that only those who were given the permission to operate during the first, second or third phase of the MCO are allowed to continue operating.
“This includes the public transport companies.
“Those who are not given the permission to operate during the first, second or third phase of the MCO will have to abide by the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’, which will begin on May 8.
“The Penang government will make further announcement on the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ soon,” he told the public via Facebook Live today.
Chow said that those who attended the National Security Council (MKN) special meeting on Covid-19 management on April 28 were told that the Federal Government would obtain feedback from every state pertaining to the standard operating procedure (SOP) that would be distributed soon.
“However, that was not done. Instead, there was an announcement on the Federal’s conditional MCO to be imposed on May 4,” he said.
Chow said the state’s decision to enforce the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ instead, was made based on the instructions from the MKN and the guidelines from the Health Ministry.
“The decision was agreed by the members of the Penang Security Special Committee (JKKN) in a meeting this morning (May 3). The ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ will be implemented to ensure the safety and health of the people of Penang while safeguarding the state’s economy.
“The Penang government understands that the state needs to take steps to recover the state’s economy. We are an industrialised state with over 67,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors.
“However, the easing of the MCO must not be done drastically and without proper planning. Ensuring the health and safety of the people are still our utmost priority,” Chow said.
Chow said the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ would be divided into three phases – Preparation (May 4 to 7), Familiarisation (May 8 to 12) and Opening (from May 13).
“All sectors are encouraged to use the Preparation Phase period to plan and prepare SOP to be implemented in their respective workplaces. All other activities unless stated in the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ schedule (which will be announced later) are not allowed.
“Several sectors that are allowed by the JKKN to operate can do so from May 8 (Familiarisation Phase) onwards, following strict SOP. All other activities unless stated in the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ schedule (which will be announced later) are still not allowed.
“The sectors that are allowed by the JKKN to operate from May 8 onwards are land and air transportation, food (food packaging only), professional services, manufacturing, finance, gas, mine and quarry, electric, agriculture (paddy and rice), fishery, husbandry, communications, Information technology, Ecommerce, environment, water supply and sewerage, construction, suit, security, cleaning, strata management, finance (community credit and pawnshops), hotel, retail and the state, local councils, statutory body and government-linked agencies,” he said.
Chow said that sectors that could operate from May 13 onwards are sports, unity, Rukun Tetangga, cooperatives, agri-commodity, forest research, debt management, creative industry and arts and culture.
“There are two sectors that are still being considered and not allowed to operate. They are education and social care (childcare centres). The decision will be announced soon,” he said.
Chow encouraged the companies to continue allowing their staff to work from home during the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ period.
“We will fine-tune the ‘Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy’ from time to time.
“The operation hours for permitted businesses in Penang tomorrow (May 4) remained the same as before. The local councils will make announcements on the new business hours (for May 8) soon.
The details of the announcement will be uploaded in the Penang Lawan Covid-19 website at https://penanglawancovid19.com/
Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng had also recently voiced his disagreement over the Federal’s conditional MCO to be imposed on May 4.
Ng said that most details about the conditional MCO had not been made known prior to the major Federal’s decision to resume almost all economic activities from May 4.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad
Video by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi