Frankly Speaking: Confusion over Klang CMCO

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 12, 2020 - October 18, 2020.
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Last week, the government announced that with effect from Friday, Oct 9, a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) would take effect in four red zones — Klang in Selangor as well as Sandakan, Papar and Tuaran in Sabah — for a period of 14 days.

However, confusion reigned over how the CMCO would be effected in Klang until Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob clarified that it would only apply to Mukim Klang and not the entire district (in effect, not including Kapar and Port Klang).

State executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim revealed that the federal government had not consulted the state before announcing the CMCO. 

Why the appalling lack of coordination between the federal and state governments when the country has already gone through various lockdown phases, starting with the MCO to the CMCO and the current nationwide Recovery MCO, which will stretch until the end of the year?

Putrajaya ought to do better. Standard operating procedures should be properly thought out and put in place before any major announcements are made as such measures have a big effect on the public and businesses, which are already burdened by anxieties and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic. Fortunately, all economic sectors in the CMCO-affected zones have been allowed to continue operating.

The government should learn from this lesson: Be specific when it comes to lockdown areas as well as the activities that can and cannot be conducted.

Also, there should be open communication and engagement between the federal and state governments as well as government agencies because if the pandemic is not better contained, it is likely that more places will be put under CMCO.

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