‘Will numbers go down?’: Malaysians furious at heightened restrictions, 8pm curfew

Long queue outside a grocery store in Taman Mayang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor on July 2, 2021. Photo: Carine Lee/Coconuts
Long queue outside a grocery store in Taman Mayang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor on July 2, 2021. Photo: Carine Lee/Coconuts

Malaysians are furious at the heightened coronavirus measures being imposed on parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, including an 8pm curfew that has prompted dozens to rush for groceries this morning. 

More than 100,000 tweets with the hashtags #PKPD and #EMCO went up following the announcement yesterday, mostly from people lashing out at the government for piling further restrictions on the people while failing to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has continued to infect thousands of Malaysians today. 

“Wasted one whole month with FMCO. Killed more businesses and sadly more people too. Now EMCO, probably for another month. Will numbers go down? I highly doubt it,” former BFM89.90 executive producer Jeff Sandhu wrote online. Malaysia reported 6,988 new cases and 84 deaths yesterday. 

“And now EMCO which actually looks like the original MCO1.0. FMCO or MCO3.0 actually looks like CMCO. @MuhyiddinYassin team is clueless and a bunch of clowns trying to manage a national [crisis]!” another Twitter user reacted. The prime minister has been hospitalized for diarrhea.  

Thirty-four of the 55 sub districts in Selangor and 14 localities in Kuala Lumpur, both of which contribute 40% of the country’s gross domestic product, have been placed under the enhanced movement control order, also known as EMCO, or the Malay acronym PKPD, from July 3 to July 16. Soon after the senior minister for security made the announcement yesterday, the #PKPD and #EMCO hashtags went viral. 

“Why are we further restricting ordinary folks going out to buy necessities, recreational activities & even stopping food businesses from operating past 8pm? When the huge majority of incidents of Covid happen in factories?! Tell me how this EMCO has any logic or sense,” Lim Wei Jiet, co-founder of the MUDA political party, said.  

Another Twitter user reacted: “A lockdown is not a permanent solution. It’s to cut spread, provide breathing space, to come up with an exit strategy. People are angry because they don’t see a drop or an exit strategy. They are frustrated because it’s the same thing over & over again, without [positive] changes.”

The Taman Megah Wet Market was busier than normal when Coconuts checked earlier today, with traffic reminiscent of the Chinese New Year season. The queue to enter a grocery store stretched up to three shoplots. 

The traffic at The Taman Megah Wet Market on July 2, 2021. Photo: Carine Lee/Coconuts
The traffic at The Taman Megah Wet Market on July 2, 2021. Photo: Carine Lee/Coconuts

Under EMCO, nobody is allowed to leave their homes unless for basic necessities, for which people are only allowed to travel within a 10-kilometer radius of their homes, and only one person is allowed to do so. Individuals can leave their homes between 8am and 8pm.

Those working in professions deemed essential are allowed to go to their workplaces, however, those who rely on public transportation will have to deal with buses and trains operating at half the normal capacity. You could still use Grab if you’re traveling alone. 

Some services related to food, medical and animals, and petrol stations can continue to operate within the curfew.  Petrol stations along highways can operate 24 hours. 

Those who have vaccine appointments during the heightened restrictions can go ahead with their jabs. Sports, cultural, recreational or social activities are not allowed.

The health ministry is also expected to conduct screenings on residents of areas affected by the EMCO.  

The question now would be, what happens to those in EMCO areas who depend on the white flag movement for help?

Other stories:

Malaysians rally support for the needy with ‘White Flag’ movement

An average of 3 people die by suicide every day in the first half of 2021: CID

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