Penang cancels all Ramadan bazaars to contain spread of Covid-19

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow addresses members of the press at Komtar, George Town February 21, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow addresses members of the press at Komtar, George Town February 21, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 3 — Penang has decided to cancel all Ramadan bazaars in the state in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced.

He said this decision was made during a state security special committee meeting that he chaired earlier today and after taking into consideration the safety of Penang residents.

“This was decided during a meeting this morning as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19,” he said in his daily message on Facebook today.

He said everyone has to make sacrifices during this period to stop the spread of the disease and thanked the Chinese community for refraining from visiting their ancestors’ graves for Cheng Beng during the movement control order (MCO).

He also thanked the Muslim community for their patience as this is the third week that they’ve been unable to attend Friday prayers in mosques.

“The same goes for the Christians who did not attend church services due to the MCO and the Hindus and Sikhs who have practised their religions without breaching the MCO,” he said.

He said the sacrifices that everyone has made will save lives.

Chow then announced several approvals by the committee with regards to businesses and services being allowed to continue operations during the second phase of the MCO.

“All immediate repairs for critical works along with cleaning works and the spraying of insecticide for pest control are allowed for the safety of the public,” he said.

He said maintenance work for 10 critical sectors will be allowed to continue and for banking services, only the IT department and the department handling cash are allowed to operate.

Additionally, stores selling products for agriculture use such as fertilisers, hardware stores, shops selling pet food and medicine for pets and shops selling replacement parts for agriculture and industry needs are allowed to operate twice a week.

“These businesses are allowed to operate on Mondays and Thursdays starting April 6 from 8am to 2pm only,” he said.

The state also decided to stop all Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) feeder buses in all five districts in the state.

Chow said the feeder buses are still in operation, albeit limited hours, today but all of that will cease effective tomorrow.

“As for BEST FIZ buses, route A and C will continue to operate with one bus each route as announced on March 31,” he said.

However, the public bus service by Rapid Penang will still be in operation and passengers need to get the full route timetables and information from the Rapid Penang Journey Planner app or by calling the hotline 04-255 8000.

Chow said a hotel owner in Penang has offered his hotel as lodging for all hospital and state health department workers throughout this period.

“I would like to thank the businessman for the offer and it is my hope that more hotels will offer their place to those who need to be quarantined, especially those returning from overseas,” he said.

On the disbursement of the Penang Aid Package, Chow said a total 1,392 recipients registered under the state welfare department have already received the one-off RM500 cash payment.

As for those registered under the federal-level welfare department, Chow said the cash payment will be made to them by April 10.

The one-off cash payments for tour guides and school bus drivers already started last night, he said.

“For trishaw riders, the payment will be made manually this week,” he said.

He reiterated that the state fully understood the difficulties faced by everyone so he promised that the cash payments will be made as soon as possible.

“It is my aim to disburse 100 per cent of the aid package by the second week of April,” he said.

Today, the Penang state government received a RM2 million contribution from Tenaga Nasional for the purchase of medical and clinical equipment.

Developer, Tamarins Group Sdn Bhd, today contributed RM200,000 towards the Penang Covid-19 Fund.

Details on the fund can be obtained at penanglawancovid19.com

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