2nd Wave of Covid: Is RMCO Wise?
Perhaps it should stand for Reconsider MCO
About two months ago, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the enforcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order from 10 June to 31 August initially, which called an end to the Conditional Movement Order (CMCO). However, the Prime Minister has again extended the RMCO until the end of the year.
With this announcement, restrictions are more lenient; interstate travel is permitted, enterprises and markets nationwide are allowed to operate again until 2AM (with the exception of Kuala Lumpur) and even small gatherings can be held. But, how wise is the decision to allow leniency especially when the pandemic of Covid-19 is still everywhere and anywhere around us?
RMCO: The good and the bad
Everything comes with pros and cons, so what is and what isn’t so good about the RMCO?
Image via Tiny Buddha
1. Mental health boost
Image via WeHeartIt
During the first phase of MCO, it was upsetting to not be able to see our loved ones or dabble in activities that used to seem so normal. Worse still, when it affected the loss of jobs and the means to gain income.
Thus just a few months ago, cases of suicide attempts have spiked more than ever. Of course, the factors vary but ultimately, we were all struggling to keep sane in tough times. National Fire and Rescue Department Operations Director, Nor Hisham Mohammad said that in June, 21 cases around the country were reported making it their busiest month. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.
However, with the announcement of the RMCO and shops and offices are reopening -- thus, giving job opportunities to those who need it most, it seems that there is a glimmer of hope to survive and provide. Being able to engage with people and the activities done before the whole Covid-19 ordeal is one way to feel normal and better again despite new regulations.
2. Rekindling connections
Image by Jude Beck / Unsplash
Having to spend an indefinite time with or apart from your partner can have some effects. Actually, it applies to all types of relationships -- family, friends, and romance.
During the first few months of MCO, it is no doubt that family disputes may have taken place. While for friendships and romantic relationships, being apart for an indefinite amount of time from our loved ones can prove to be hard.
But now, with almost everyone able to meet their loved ones locally with the permission of interstate travel, we can observe a more vibrant and positive attitude. Regardless, since we can’t really resist hugging our family and friends after a lengthy time apart, the best we can do is not to forget to wear face masks and keep clean by washing our hands often (although, you should still keep a safe distance).
3. Rise in economy
Image via Medium
During the first phase of the MCO, many were impacted -- businesses were not allowed to operate, gatherings were strictly prohibited and even traveling for work wasn’t allowed in some cases.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated Malaysia’s economy has lost an estimated RM2.4 billion daily during the MCO which is a total of RM63 billion due to the closing of businesses.
Needless to say, with the RMCO in place, businesses of all sorts in Malaysia are allowed to operate again provided business owners and consumers comply with the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) regulated by the government.
For the more unfortunate souls, they can now find an escape outside of their toxic home environments and get a peace of mind.
1. Non-compliant to SOPs
We are all glad that we can finally get to go to our favourite restaurants to catch up with an old friend or go visit the places we’ve always wanted to go to, but are we really compliant to the SOPs regulated by the government? And even if we are, what about the people around us?
Honestly, it is quite frustrating when people do not comply with the SOPs especially when standing in line. PSA: Lines of red tape are laid down in establishments for a reason. Please stand behind the red line and respect other people’s personal space, thank you very much!
Image via snkrs_movement/Instagram
Additionally, on 3 September, popular collaboration between German sportswear brand, Adidas and American designer and rapper, Kanye West known as Yeezy had released a new footwear: Yeezy Slide.
In Malaysia, with the hype of streetwear nowadays, it was only natural to see more than a hundred people spending the night in a queue so they don’t miss the chance to get the limited edition footwear the second it was launched. The concerning matter was none of the Yeezy enthusiasts practiced social distancing. Goodness!
2. Goodbye, clean environment :(
Image via CNBC
During the entirety of when Malaysians had to stay at home, it was a wonderful sight to see a cleaner Malaysia. Although quarantine was tough for most people, it also came with a silver lining and that was a cleaner and greener nation. Even globally too, countries have noticed sights of cleaner waterways (rivers, estuaries and seas) such as Venice; although reports of animals returning to the waters were fake, the clear water sighting certainly isn’t!
But of course in Malaysia, the cleanliness didn’t last long (ugh!). A few days into RMCO, photos of Port Dickson beach littered with trash went viral.
Images via SAYS
It is truly infuriating to see what could have been a beautiful place being littered. It is even more frustrating when you find out there has been a spike in the number of sea turtles returning to beaches and laying eggs in Port Dickson during the MCO and now their habitat is being dirtied again. How hard is it to throw your trash into the bin, huh?
So, is it really wise?
The RMCO may be wise if everyone is compliant to the regulated SOPs. However, how long will it be until Malaysia is free from the pandemic if a part of the community is still flouting the rules that may lead to a second wave of Covid-19.
RMCO is not all bad but it should really be reconsidered and the regulations enforced thoroughly especially with the worrying spike in numbers of local cases as of recent. We believe Malaysia will be free of the pandemic but not with this much freedom.
Cover image via New Straits Times