MCO: Malaysians now have to live with new norms

Most people are using the ‘stay at home’ directive by improving their abilities in various ways related to work, family and for themselves. – BERNAMApic

KUALA LUMPUR: The COVID-19 epidemic that led to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18 has been educating people around the world, including Malaysia, to change their lifestyle in order to prioritise health and safety.

Most people are using the 'stay at home' directive by improving their abilities in various ways related to work, family and for themselves.

Recognising the government's efforts to break the COVID-19 transmission chain, which until April 10 saw 4,346 cases recorded with 70 deaths besides 1,830 recovered cases, the people are trying their best to comply with the MCO's extension until April 28.

In the course of almost a month of living in compliance with the MCO, various control measures needed to be adopted to prevent the spread of the pandemic have created new ‘norms’ or new habits in people's lives, among them are:

·       Working from Home

Complaints voiced over having to work from home are now dwindling, as average people are able to adapt to the changes that have taken place for nearly a month under the MCO.

In fact, many are beginning to feel comfortable and able to harness technology in carrying out their work, including using the latest applications like Skype, Zoom or MS Team to communicate with colleagues and family, in a state of limited movement.

Virtual learning that was previously less popular is also the choice of parents and children now, so as not to miss out on learning. More importantly, as time goes by, parents are seen to be more involved in their children's education.

This challenging period also saw the Education Ministry and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry collaborating to introduce Educational TV programme slots via RTM's Okey TV channel, as an additional effort to broadcast TV Eduweb which is currently implemented by the Education Ministry, to help students gain access to learning materials via alternative platforms to online learning.

Virtual learning is also an option for students of higher education institutions to pursue their respective studies in addition to the teaching staff to hone their skills in using technology to convey knowledge.

·       High Level of Personal Hygiene Practices

Messages on personal hygiene practices which have been emphasised since the beginning when the COVID-19 cases were reported in Malaysia, has among others, educated people to practice proper manners when coughing or sneezing.

In addition, the practise of washing hands properly and frequently is becoming a common habit to the people, even hand sanitizers and face masks that were not a necessity, are now a must in every home.

People are also advised to bathe regularly to keep their bodies clean to avoid the risk of infection.

The need for social distancing emphasised at this point of time has seen a number of habits change, including the practice of shaking hands, where many are now becoming more and more accustomed to the practice of putting the right hand on the left chest while bowing as a sign of respect.

This demanded the public to distance themselves at least one metre, although it may remain a practice even after the end of this pandemic, but at least the practice will become a new norm in society.

·       Rapid Development of the Gig Economy Sector

The MCO has seen the gig economy becoming a popular segment of the economy lately, especially via e-hailing where the service is widely used to help facilitate the restricted life of many people today.

People are also increasingly open to accepting digital payment methods in their day-to-day business, especially when e-hailing services incorporate e-wallets and cashless payments.

·       Spend Time with Family

Nearly a month of complying with the MCO has also provided an opportunity and space for families to improve relationships especially with children besides understanding each other better.

Most working parents acknowledge that they are now better able to understand their children's emotions in addition to valuing time spent with the family.