Malaysians need to be ready for post-MCO

Dr Jemilah also hoped that Malaysians would move forward and be united in combating COVID-19 even though it will take time. – Filepic/BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: Preparedness for the new norm will be crucial to ensure Malaysians are ready in the post-Movement Control Order (MCO) phase.

The special advisor to the Prime Minister on public health, Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood said this is because the people would be confronted with a new environment compared to the one before the MCO was implemented.

"We must always be prepared as we have to step up preparation as a community. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the entire behavioural and cultural systems.

"For example, our culture of greeting and visiting relatives. After the MCO has ended, we cannot return to our usual ways because it will take time for the virus to fully disappear," she was speaking as a panelist in live Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry FB forum entitled "Effects of MCO from the Scientific Eye" today.

She said among the new situations faced in post-MCO is greeting during the month of Ramadan as well as celebrations like visiting the house of relatives and meeting friends.

As such, in the coming Ramadan, she advised Malaysian Muslims to take the opportunity to pray more.

"The new norm is not forever. We should at least understand… this is for the future and it is easier for us (if we are prepared)," she said.

The forum was moderated by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Sharing the same view with Dr Jamilah was Universiti Malaya psychiatric expert Assoc. Prof Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin who was also a panelist in the forum.

Dr Amer said in-depth discussions on aspects of preparedness should be carried out to ensure Malaysians are really ready for post-MCO.

"So there will definitely be differences. The Syawal celebration will not be like before, Ramadan bazaars are not encouraged and even terawih prayers would be different after this.

"Some in the community may adjust well but some will not. So we have to have plans and clear communications currently, during the transition and post-MCO to avoid problems," Dr Amer said.

In this regard, both panelist agreed with the practice of social distancing as well as consistent cleanliness for Malaysia to win the war against COVID-19.

Dr Jemilah also hoped that Malaysians would move forward and be united in combating COVID-19 even though it will take time.

"We have learned many lessons from COVID-19.. It sends a message, " I love you for distancing from me".

"Everything will take time. As a doctor, people will forgive you if they lose more money, but they will suffer much more if they lose lives," she said.