PUTRAJAYA: The government will not go ahead with plans to allow barber shops, hair salons and opticians to operate during the rest of the movement control order (MCO) period.
In addition, there will be no Ramadan bazaars this year.
The aim, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, was to ensure the effectiveness of the measures for preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The government also decided that students of local universities and colleges must remain where they are now, if they have not gone home.
Ismail Sabri said the government made the decision after listening to the views of Malaysians, be it experts, the authorities, associations or the public, who had voiced their concerns on the matter.
“Many people were worried that if these businesses were allowed to open, it might cause more people to be infected with the virus.
“Therefore, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has decided not to allow these businesses to operate, that there will be no Ramadan bazaars and that the students should stay where they are throughout the MCO, ” he said in his daily briefing yesterday,
The government announced last week that it would allow certain businesses to re-open throughout the rest of the MCO
The list of businesses included traditional and complementary medicine, hardware and electrical shops, opticians, manned laundrettes, and hair salons and barbers (restricted to haircuts).
The initial plan was to only allow barbers and hair salons located in “green zones” to operate.
On students who have been in their hostels since March 18 when the MCO came into force, Ismail Sabri said health authorities as well as the police had advised the
government on the matter and it was decided that the students should stay put.
“This is to ensure that whatever efforts that have been put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19 are successful.
“We don’t want a mass movement of people, for fear that new clusters (of Covid-19 cases) will emerge, ” he said.
He assured parents that the government would continue to provide meals for the students during the MCO period.
“I hope the public understands why this decision was made.
“It is to safeguard the interests and safety of not only the students, but also their families and communities, ” he said.
Last week, Higher Education Minister Datuk Noraini Ahmad said her ministry would look into the best ways to send home students from institutions of higher learning.
Last Friday, the government announced the extension of the MCO to April 28. It was slated to end today.