Penang open to Pahang-style business closures if Covid-19 still spreads

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says his government is open to the idea of imposing a directive for shops to close from sunset to sunrise, as was done by Pahang, if the movement control order (MCO) is unable to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state.

“If the MCO achieves its objectives, a Pahang-style closure will not be necessary.

“But we are open to this concept, and if needed, our city councils can limit the opening times of outlets,” he said in a live telecast on Facebook today.

He added that the focus now was on public adherence to the MCO.

“I’m sure the people know that the government intends to bring in the military if compliance with the MCO is low,” he said.

Pahang yesterday announced that business premises in five districts, including 24-hour convenience stores, would be barred from operating from 7pm to 7am beginning this Saturday.

Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the directive was made to help curb the spread of Covid-19 following positive cases in the districts.

On a separate matter, Chow said Penang’s civil servants would receive their salaries today in light of the MCO.

He also said he would raise several matters at the National Safety Council meeting in Putrajaya today.

He said he would check on the status of a RM30 million economic stimulus package requested by the Penang government in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

He said he would also ask the government to be stricter in enforcing the MCO on factories throughout the two-week period, adding that Putrajaya must be clear on the procedures for major manufacturing facilities.

Other matters include the availability of medical equipment at government clinics and hospitals in Penang, including thermometers, face masks, sanitisers and other protective gear.

“I will call for a limit to face masks being exported by local producers to meet domestic demands,” he added.

Penang recorded two more cases of Covid-19 as of noon yesterday, with national numbers hitting 900 cases.