KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin justified the restrictions placed on the public during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive period as necessary to protect the lives of everyone.
He said if customary visits to the homes of friends and relatives were allowed, one would not know if the guests had Covid-19 or not.
“This is because many Covid-19 patients do not display any symptoms. The person may not know he or she is infected, and this situation makes it more difficult to break the transmission chain,” Muhyiddin said in his Aidilfitri eve address.
Acknowledging that the decision to place restrictions is unpopular with the public, he added that many are angry with him, seeing as how Muslims will celebrate Aidilfitri tomorrow without being able to go back to their villages or hometowns.
“Is the government this tyrannical? But I am not a tyrant. Imagine if you have guests over, then the virus will spread to you.
“After that the guest will go to the homes of others, and thereby infect the host. If the guest visits 10 homes, then 10 families will be infected with Covid-19, and in the end as soon as Aidilfitri ends the number of positive cases in the country could jump to tens of thousands daily,” Muhyiddin said.
Stressing that this was not a matter to be taken lightly, the prime minister said it was a difficult yet necessary decision by the government
“It may not be popular and likely leave everybody dissatisfied, but it is my opinion that this is needed to save the lives and futures of everyone.
“I understand and am aware of your anger towards me but it is the endeavour of the government and myself to safeguard your lives. The rest I leave up to God,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that after he has examined the data available in the past few weeks, zones that were formerly green slowly began to turn yellow, and subsequently red.
“The government initially took targeted action to stem the spread of the virus in the community. We implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) in several states and districts, as well as several localities.
“Yet the virus has spread so quickly, with the infectivity of the new Covid-19 variants much higher. In the span of mere weeks almost all areas in the country have turned read, with nearly 70 per cent of infections occurring sporadically within the community, and 80 per cent of positive cases detected not displaying any symptoms,” he said.
Stressing that Malaysia now faces a rapidly-spreading pandemic with new and alarming variants, Muhyiddin also said the steps taken by the government were not certain to suppress the rise in Covid-19 cases.
“Rather, it depends on how much we adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) It also depends on our respective self-discipline, and how far we hold fast in fighting this virus.
“Covid-19 will weaken if we can break the transmission chain. How to do so? Avoid crowded places and mass gatherings, maintain your social distancing with others. Do not sit close to one another and always wear face masks.
“Keep your hands clean, and yourselves as well at all times. If you have no urgent business outside, just stay at home. For if you uphold these simple practices, the chain will be broken, the virus will weakne and God willing it can finally be overcome,” he said.
Muhyiddin pleaded with the public to increase their self-discipline and unfailingly adhere to the SOPs at all times, primarily by staying at home.
“We live in the times of a pandemic, akin to living through a war. We must find shelter at every moment, to save lives and the best protection is in our own homes.
“Consider this as a sacrifice so that we can fight this pandemic together,” he said.
The current iteration of the MCO, dubbed MCO 3.0, began today and will last until June 7. During this time all state and district crossing is prohibited, as are social, educational, and certain sporting activities save for those in open areas.
Asides from the prohibition on visiting friends and relatives during the Aidilfitri period, the number of congregants attending customary festive prayers in mosques and suraus have also been greatly reduced.