Positive response to Malaysia’s new mask protocol

"If the situation [was] not good, surely the government would not relax the ruling", a second-year university student shared about the decision.


Being cautious: Some say wearing a mask should be second nature, especially in crowded places. — MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

June 30, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – The decision to not to make the use of face masks in health facilities and on public transportation compulsory any more from July 5 shows that the government is ready to enter the Covid-19 endemic phase.

Malaysians welcomed the government’s new ruling to ease standard operating procedures (SOP) as announced by Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa on Thursday (June 29).

Diploma student R. Arese Nesi, 21, said the relaxation on face mask use on public transport is definitely encouraging as it indirectly shows that the Covid-19 situation in the country is recovering.

“If the situation is not good, surely the government would not relax the ruling. I feel very good because I do not need to wear it (face mask) when riding the LRT or MRT as it is always crowded and wearing a face mask makes it difficult,” the second-year student majoring in communications at a local university told Bernama on Thursday.

Malaysia has been in the transition to the endemic phase since April 1, 2022.

Meanwhile, Lisa Licson, 25, who teaches at an international school, said the public need not worry about being issued a compound notice or a fine if they fail to comply with the regulations and stipulated SOP when in health facilities.

“The announcement that it is no longer necessary to wear a face mask is a good thing. I think the importance of wearing a face mask depends on each individual,” she said.

Muhammad Said Abdullah, 29, said he was happy but remained worried that Covid-19 could return aggressively in future.

“As a Grab driver, I always tell my passengers to mask up and would give them a face mask if they did not have one. Now, I will not need to do this anymore,” he said.

However, he said he would continue taking precautions by using a face mask if he has the flu, a cough or a fever to avoid spreading the infection to passengers.

Digital social media executive Nik Nur Najla Nik Zaid, 24, had a different opinion and felt public transport users cannot avoid being exposed to the risk of contracting Covid-19 when it is crowded.

“The LRTs are congested every time you travel to and from work – and we are not sure of the health of other passengers. So it depends on the individuals… if they are afraid or care for themselves, then they should use face masks even though it is not compulsory,” she said. – Bernama

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