Mask Mandate Bukit Aman Withdraws Order To Stop Enforcement
Bukit Aman today denied that police would no longer enforce the face mask mandate.
This comes after a copy of a federal police circular ordering all police formations in the country to cease issuing compounds against those who do not wear their face mask went viral on social media.
According to the leaked document, police officers are instead required only to advise offenders to put on a face mask.
Malaysiakini has confirmed with several police sources that the circular was legitimate.
It was understood that the document dated April 20, 2022, has been sent out to all state police and other police unit commanders, including district police chiefs.
However, Bukit Aman Management Department director Zaini Jass when contacted today, told Malaysiakini that the circular had been withdrawn.
"Not true. Still the status quo. We are still continuing with enforcement against non-compliance of Covid-19 SOPs," he said when asked to confirm the circular.
"The letter has been withdrawn," the police commissioner added.
Still in force
In a statement issued later, Bukit Aman emphasised that the mask mandate is still in force during the ‘transition to endemic’ phase that began on April 1.
“As such, the police will continue to issue compounds if any party violates the SOP under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988,” it said.
Earlier, a snapshot of the first page of the circular went viral on social media.
The circular stated that since the country is moving into an endemic phase, the National Security Council has issued a new set of standard operating procedures to be followed by the law enforcement agency.
Paragraph 2.2 of the circular said, "No more summonses to be issued for the offence of not wearing a face mask. However, the monitoring team should give them the advice to wear masks."
Meanwhile, China Press quoted anonymous sources claiming that the mask mandate will be lifted in May.
“Therefore, it is believed that the police circular to stop imposing fines on those who don’t wear masks will only come into effect then,” the report said.
To contain spread of Covid-19
The mask mandate was imposed beginning August 2020 in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Later, as more infectious Covid-19 variants appeared, improved masking practices such as double-masking or using respirators were officially encouraged but not made mandatory.
The current rules still require wearing a face mask in most public spaces when in the company of others.
Exceptions include when participating in sports and recreational activities, eating or drinking, during performances such as singing and public, and when working in individual workspaces.
However, key Covid-19 indicators in Malaysia such as caseload, hospitalisations, and deaths are now on a downtrend after the Omicron variant wave in the country appears to have peaked in mid-March. - Mkini
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