Security Council of Malaysia to discuss potential expansion of MCO

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KUALA LUMPUR – On Tuesday (Feb 2), the National Security Council will hold a special meeting to discuss a potential extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and we will hear the report from the Health Ministry before any decision is made,” Senior Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters after visiting roadblocks in Sentul and Gombak on Monday.

When asked if, due to the high number of daily Covid-19 cases, more sectors should be closed, especially within the last three days, he said there had to be a balance.

“We don’t want our rakyat to die from Covid-19 but at the same time, we also don’t want them to die of starvation,” Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said.

“I went to a roadside stall to buy food recently and the operator told me that their income had decreased by as much as 50 per cent because they can only offer takeout.”

He added: “Some of them depleted their savings completely during the last MCO, which lasted three months. Can you imagine how they will survive if we implement the same MCO now?”

This is why it was necessary to strike a balance between safeguarding lives and economic interests, Mr. Ismail Sabri added.

He said some small- and micro-business operators rely on their daily income to put their families’ food on the table.

As for the Chinese New Year, Mr. Ismail Sabri reported that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being drawn up for the celebrations.

He said the standard operating procedures would be established by the National Security Council, Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Unity.

“The technical committee has asked them to come up with the SOP and they are currently drawing it up and will present it to us soon,” said the minister. “We do not want to make any decisions now as the status of the MCO could change within two weeks,” Mr Ismail Sabri said, adding that the SOP will be announced one week before the Chinese New Year or two to three days in advance at the latest.

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