Fake order on car rides goes out as new face mask rule begins

The National Security Council has denied that face masks are required when people share a car ride with others.

PETALING JAYA: As Malaysians began complying with a new rule on compulsory use of face masks in public, a fake message was being spread that masks were also required for those sharing a car ride with others.

The fake message also claimed that only two people were allowed to ride in small cars such as the Perodua Axia.

The messages led the National Security Council to issue a denial. It said there was no such directive that people from different households in a car must wear masks and practise social distancing.

The NSC also denied any rule about small cars.

The fake message also said that those who eat out must keep their masks on while waiting for their food to arrive and to immediately put on their masks after their meal or drink.

The NSC said the message was fake.

The government announced last week that masks must be used by all travelling on public transport and by those at crowded public areas such as markets, supermarkets, parks, and tourism destinations.

Children under two years old, the disabled, and people who can’t wear face masks by themselves are exempted.

Bernama reported that Malaysians were generally complying with the new rule, which carries a penalty of a RM1,000 fine.

A survey of Kuala Lumpur city centre showed that people seemed to have taken the matter seriously, especially in crowded public places, by putting on their face masks as soon as they alight from their vehicles.

A salesman, M. Sri Mathavan, 18, said safety was a primary concern as he hails from a large family. “I have seven siblings and the youngest is still a baby, and therefore, I am worried about bringing the Covid-19 pandemic home,” he said.

“What the government is doing is right, I will definitely comply (with the government’s directives) because I cannot afford to pay the fine. I take at least three face masks with me daily when I go out,” he said.

A shopkeeper, Ng Nam Fooi, 62, said he wears a mask “as I engage with customers every day. I have been using masks whenever I go to work or in public places even before the face mask rule”.

People in George Town were wearing masks and practising physical distancing in public places such as markets and food outlets. A visitor to the Jelutong market, Tan Lean Yee, 54, said she felt safer with all shoppers wearing face masks and practising physical distancing.

“Previously, I was a bit worried when visiting public places because there are many people who do not wear face masks but today, I found that apart from food places, everyone has started wearing masks,” she said.

However, in Butterworth, police said 20 people in Bagan Ajam were issued compound notices at the ring road rest stop for not wearing masks.