KUALA LUMPUR – The decision on whether to ease the current indoor mask mandate in most public spaces in Malaysia will be announced by Wednesday (Sept 7), said the country’s health minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“We are already discussing the matter internally. We have to prioritise the safety and health of the public before we finalise any decision as we will try to include as many opinions as possible,” he said on Sunday.
“Even now, I am still receiving feedback from people on the issue but I will be announcing the final decision by this Wednesday.”
Malaysia did away with a requirement to wear masks in outdoor settings from May 1, 2022. However, mask-wearing is still mandatory in public indoor environments, with the government warning that fines will be imposed for non-compliance.
Mr Khairy said that regardless of the decision, the public still needs to be wary of Covid-19 as it is still deemed a public health emergency and of international concern.
“Until the end of December this year (2022), the government still reserves the right to re-enact Act 342 throughout the country should the Covid-19 situation worsen,” he added.
Under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), the government can impose lockdowns and regulations similar to the Covid-19 movement control orders, and individuals found guilty can be fined up to RM1,000 (S$310) or be jailed for up to six months.
Mr Khairy, who has been MP for Rembau in the state of Negeri Sembilan since 2008, also said at the same media conference that he will not be defending his Rembau seat in the coming general election.
The health minister said he had been asked to make way for Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan to contest the seat, Bernama reported.
Mr Mohamad, is state assemblyman for Rantau, but is not a current member of parliament.
“I have been in politics in Rembau for over 20 years and for almost 15 years I have been a Member of Parliament for Rembau. Now I have to look for a constituency that is willing to accept me. Worst case scenario, I don’t contest at all and I am fine,” he added. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK