KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — The Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) hopes the government will allow those who have been fully vaccinated to enter cinemas soon as part of the perks promised by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the fight against Covid-19.
Its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Mohd Seth said its request is in line with Muhyiddin's recent statement promising to loosen social restrictions in a bid to encourage more Malaysians to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that continues to infect tens of thousands a day.
“The cinema's standard operating procedures (SOP) are among the most stringent, we do not allow spectators to roam around the cinema. Viewers are also required to always wear face masks at all times, in addition to ensuring physical and seating distancing.
“By allowing already vaccinated spectators to the cinema, we are confident the cinema will be a safe place to find tranquility and entertainment. We believe it is very important for the recovery of the mental health of the people in the country,” he told Malay news portal Berita Harian Online.
According to Mohd Ghazali, no Covid-19 cluster has emerged from cinemagoers, but operators were forced to shutter for more than 200 days since last year, incurring losses over RM500 million.
“This year, cinemas have been closed for more than 150 days, resulting in cinema operators having to bear huge losses.
“Significant differences can be seen from year to year, where the industry collectively contributes more than RM1.08 billion in revenue and RM250 million in entertainment tax to the country,” he was quoted as saying.
Mohd Ghazali added that the involuntary closure has left the cinema industry paralysed, affecting the livelihoods of 20,000 workers who either lost their jobs or faced heavy pay cuts.
Muhyiddin issued a statement last Monday promising that he will soon announce the privileges for those who have completed both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as part of the government’s recovery efforts.
Numerous forced lockdowns since the pandemic last year have taken a heavy toll on South-east Asia’s third largest economy. Various businesses, notably in retail, the hospitality and tourism industries, have seen significant closures.
So far, about 22.8 per cent of Malaysia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba shared infographics on his Twitter account earlier today showing 14,711,532 people or 45 per cent of the population have received their first dose, while 7,440,835 people were second dose recipients.
Yesterday’s daily vaccination rate saw 483,368 doses given out, with 240,394 as the first dose and 242,974 as the second dose.
In total, 22,152,367 doses of Covid-19 jabs have been administered under the National Covid-19 Immunisation programme as of yesterday.