Health Experts Tell Sabah To End Confusion Over Rmco Cmco
Sabah has been placed from RMCO to CMCO until May 17 but the SOPs are still the same. (Bernama pic)KOTA KINABALU: A former deputy health minister and a health policy analyst say the government’s decision to use standard operating procedures not corresponding to the prescribed movement restriction will only end up confusing the people.
Sabah announced it will maintain the SOPs for the previous recovery movement control order (RMCO) despite the state being placed back under conditional MCO from Thursday to May 17.
State local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun said the government decided to keep the RMCO guidelines to ensure economic recovery is not disrupted.
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said while this is understandable, the government cannot change the rules at their whims and fancies.
Dr Lee Boon Chye.He questioned the need to change the control order status when the SOPs are not applied in the end.
“So which one is it, CMCO or RMCO? It doesn’t make sense. The SOPs must be clear and transparent and they have to be consistent, you cannot be changing it today or tomorrow,” he told FMT.
“There are SOPs for CMCO and rules for RMCO. If we are confused, then enforcement officers will also be confused, maybe even the chief minister can be confused.”
Azrul Mohd Khalib, chief executive of the Galen Centre, said having contradictory SOPs is an “injustice against the ordinary people”.
“Penalties and punishments being enforced are linked to which SOPs are being applied. There is no point having such harsh penalties when the governments (state and federal) themselves cannot decide which SOPs to apply.
Azrul Mohd Khalib.“In this instance, you want to have the correct classification to reflect the level of concern. A misleading category will result in a false sense of security, causing people to be lulled into complacency and resulting in flare-ups of cases and outbreaks.
“It is dangerous to maintain a low alert level when there is a need for people to be more vigilant and careful. It does make a difference,” he said.
In announcing the status change to CMCO for Sabah on Tuesday, senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the state had 33 localities under the enhanced MCO while the number of green zones continued to decline.
Following this, messages widely shared over social media claimed that standard operating procedures such as two persons in one vehicle, closure of public facilities like schools and places of worship, and the inter-district travel ban will be reinstated.
This prompted a rebuttal from Masidi, who is Sabah’s official Covid-19 spokesman, who said the messages were “fake” and that the regulations in place during the previous RMCO would be maintained.
Meanwhile, former Sabah health minister Frankie Poon did not agree with the decision to recategorise the state to CMCO, saying the situation based on the daily cases reported is still manageable compared to elsewhere in the country.
He said the state government should have told the National Security Council not to restore the CMCO status but stood its ground on maintaining the RMCO. - FMT
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