KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — With the number of Covid-19 cases continuing to rise, most Malaysians fear there could be another movement control order (MCO) like the one the country experienced on March 18 this year.
Friday’s record of 287 cases was wiped out by yesterday’s 317 and Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement in the afternoon that there would be no MCO did not entirely reassure everyone.
Malay Mail visited two morning markets in Taman Melawati, Ampang and Section 6, Shah Alam to find out how prepared people are for the possibility of another lockdown.
Have they stocked up on food, toilet paper (that was one of the first things that ran out in supermarkets prior to the first lockdown as a result of panic buying) and other essentials?
Safwan Baba, 70, a retiree, who frequents the market in Taman Melawati every day for his breakfast said that if a lockdown were to happen again, most people would be mentally prepared.
“For those of us who live day to day, it’s not easy to prepare for another three months of lockdown. Having said that, I think a lot of us have learned a great deal about how to deal with another lockdown from having experienced the one before, and would know how to prepare ourselves for it,” he said as he sipped his kopi o panas (hot black coffee).
Rela member P. Nathan, 46, who works at the Section 6 market shared Safwan’s opinion.
“I’m actually not prepared for another lockdown but if there’s MCO 2.0, I will stock up on canned foods, instant noodles and other dry goods. I won’t panic buy like everyone else before,” he said, using the already commonly used MCO 2.0 to refer to the next lockdown.
Noryatima Abdullah, 25, who sells clothes and accessories at the Taman Melawati market also said she isn’t as worried as she knows how to deal with a lockdown, and has already prepared a second source of income in advance.
“I’m not worried just yet, I don’t think there is a need to panic like we did the first time around. I’ll just wait for the announcement first and get what I need for my family then.
“I’ve also got my online business selling the same things here, so if there is another MCO, I can rely on this as a source of income,” she said cheerfully.
Mohammed Jeffri Muhamed Yunos, 47, an engineer who was picking up some groceries at the Section 6 market said he knows exactly what needs to be done if another MCO is implemented.
“During the previous MCO, everyone was all over the place. I managed to organise our small community and help provide food for my neighbours who were struggling. If another MCO happens, I know exactly what to do,” he said proudly.
Winston Willam, 35, a government official who frequents the Melawati morning market said that everyone is subconsciously ready for a second MCO.
“We’ve all been preparing ourselves in our heads, and I think people will only stop feeling this way once a vaccine is found,” he said.
Running errands around the Melawati morning market, Sam Arigesamy, 68, who was with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) also said that Malaysians are prepared for another MCO.
“We are more prepared, and things are already in place as a result of the first MCO. The government is doing a good job and is aware of what everyone is going through right now. So I am not worried,” he added.
Chin, whom we met buying fruit near the market in Melawati, said that as long as people follow the SOPs — wearing their masks at all times and adhering to all the rules that the Health Ministry has put down — Malaysia will be fine.
“We pray and hope that if everybody is vigilant, then there won’t be a need for a second MCO. But if people are careless, then unfortunately the government will have to do what it has to in order to protect the rakyat.
“Regardless, if we do have another lockdown, it won’t be as hard as the first one,” she said.
While it looks like none of the people we spoke to have stockpiled food and necessities, they do seem to be psychologically prepared for another lockdown should it happen.
But all are in agreement that is the last thing anybody wants.