KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Federation of Malaysian Entertainment said today it is shocked by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s remark for nightclubs and entertainment centres to remain closed during the recovery movement control order (RMCO).
Malaysiakini reported its president Datuk Liew Poon Siak saying that the industry, which contributes to the Malaysian economy, is already struggling trying to stay afloat, with Muhyiddin’s statement coming in as another blow.
“If physical distancing is the reason, then political, religious and public gatherings should be banned as well,” he was quoted as saying.
As bars and pubs have been prohibited from operating since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March, Liew said the federation hopes the government will consider allowing nightspots to operate under certain conditions.
“We are not opposed to the RMCO but urge the prime minister to retract his statement and show concern for our situation,” he reportedly said.
Muhyiddin made the comment, apparently in jest, during a pro-Perikatan Nasional convention in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, in which he said the economy has begun to recover following the government’s reopening of almost all sectors.
This excluded pubs and nightclubs, with the prime minister adding that he felt it may be a good thing if they do not open at all, reportedly to cheers from some in the crowd.
He later added that this was due to the difficulties to practice physical distancing there.
He made the remark while he held up his administration’s Covid-19 response as among his most notable achievements since becoming prime minister, which he also said demonstrated that the government was people-centric.
Muhyiddin’s party, Bersatu, now leads a predominantly Malay-Muslim coalition alongside PAS and Umno as a result of shifting political alliances that triggered the fall of the democratically-elected Pakatan Harapan government.