KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — Malaysians have no qualms frequenting cinemas amid the Covid-19 pandemic, an independent online survey revealed. 

The survey conducted by Cinema Online Sdn Bhd via www.cinemaonline.com.my garnered response from almost 25,000 individuals aged between 15 and 45 plus within 72 hours. 

The survey’s key finding shows that 98 percent of the participants are satisfied with cinemas’ standard operating procedures (SOP) with 92 per cent opinng going to the cinema is as safe as visiting malls and dining at restaurants. 

It also said that 97 per cent of the participants are desperate to return to cinemas, 92 per cent saying they can’t wait to watch the latest blockbusters there. 

Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) chairman General (Rtd) Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Mohd Seth said that cinema operators are humbled by the huge and positive responses received from all those who have taken the survey. 

“We are now looking forward to welcoming audiences back to the cinema safely so that Malaysians can once again enjoy the cinema entertainment experience,” he said in a statement. 

Mohd Ghazali said that MAFE has been reiterating the need for cinemas to be reopen as the Malaysian cinema industry suffered up to 90 per cent loss of revenue year-on-year, with total losses incurred in 2020 alone amounting to more than RM500 million. 

“The association has been steadfast in its stance of sustained appeals to the government to reconsider the opening of cinemas,” he said. 

He also said that MAFE welcomes news to reopen cinemas, with new SOPs allowing guests from the same family and home to sit in pairs. 

“This certainly presents a positive multiplier effect to the retail outlets, food and beverage businesses within the mall and the entire supply chain across the cinema operators.

“This definitely augurs well for the sustainability of livelihoods across all stakeholders in the cinema industry,” he added. 

On March 2, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that states still under the movement control order (MCO) will return to the conditional MCO on March 5, where cinemas are allowed to reopen under strict SOPs.