KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Several states have defied Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision to implement the conditional movement control order (CMCO) and decided to keep the current MCO in place in the interest of public safety.

Currently, five states from both sides of the political divide have decided to ignore Muhyiddin’s call to open up all economic sectors.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) Sarawak government was among the earliest to refuse Muhyiddin’s call.

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) announced yesterday that it will make a decision after looking into the changes in the regulations under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 pursuant to the announcement.

“The Sarawak government fully respects the announcement made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the need to reopen the economy hence relaxing the MCO effective this Monday, May 4, 2020.

“However, the state government has decided to study the implications of the reopening of such economic activities, which sectors to open, when and to what extent they will be allowed to open,” Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said in a statement.

Therefore, all current laws under the existing MCO still apply in the state with businesses and the various economic sectors there being shuttered until the study is complete.

He added that the directives under MCO phases one, two and three remains in force for the time being.

“Taking into account Sarawak’s local situation in terms of the Covid-19 cases, logistic capability, the capacity of the Health Department and its geographical circumstances, the SDMC has found that many of the standards of compliance of the reopening of the economic activities will not be conducive in the state,” pointed out Uggah.

Earlier today, Pakatan Harapan state Sabah joined its Sarawakian neighbour in its decision against the CMCO.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal gave a short press statement, saying that its stand stems from the state’s efforts to continue mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic while ensuring that its citizens are not exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Negri Sembilan also joined the bandwagon, citing the many Covid-19 hotspots and areas still under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) in the state.

State Secretary Datuk Razali Abdul Malik said that while the state supports Putrajaya’s decision in spirit, it is still not conducive for the state to open up its economic sector until the infection rate there is controlled.

“The state government has decided that only approved economic sectors are allowed to operate and any social and sports activities are still banned. There will be no dine-ins at restaurants — only deliveries, takeaways or drive throughs. The same applies to food trucks.

“EMCO localities such as the housing area in Sendayan, Seremban Market, Bahau Market, or areas with high infection rates and new infection rates will not be allowed to have any economic activities,” said Razali.

The Kedah state government was next to follow, with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir saying that its special security committee will be meeting on Tuesday to see whether the CMCO is suitable or otherwise.

In a statement, Mukhriz said the authorities are committed to maintaining the state’s green zone status and ensuring that its citizens are safe and protected from the virus.

“There is no compromise on the safety and welfare of the people. In the meantime, continue to stay at home, adopt good hygiene and practice social distancing,” Mukhriz said.

Another PN state which refused to follow Putrajaya’s lead is Pahang, which plans on discussing the CMCO during a Security Task Force meeting on May 8, 2020.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said in a statement that the state will need to carefully study the current situation, with a focus on how to manage the latest Covid-19 cluster within the state.

“Until our decision is made in our weekly meeting, any instructions based on the current MCO remain standing,” said Wan Rosdy.

At the same time, both the Selangor and Penang state governments are still in the midst of discussing whether or not they will follow Putrajaya’s lead on the CMCO and will be issuing statements later.