Ismail Sabri clarifies face mask rule

The use of face masks was made mandatory on Aug 1.

PETALING JAYA: Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob today clarified the rule on the mandatory use of face masks in public, saying it only applies for crowded areas where physical distancing cannot be observed.

“There was a viral post yesterday that said action would also be taken against those who did not wear face masks in their own cars. That is not true,” he said.

“If we are at a public place like a football field where physical distancing can be observed, you don’t need to wear a mask.

“If there is someone sitting by himself at the beach … it’s a large place, so he won’t be fined,” he added.

The mandatory face mask rule, effective from Aug 1, makes it a law for people to wear face masks while using public transport or in crowded public places.

Stressing that face masks are not required at home and in private vehicles, Ismail said it was also not compulsory while carrying out physical activities and for children under the age of two.

On the 11 new cases from the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah, he said the state had applied, and received permission, to enforce a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) in four districts.

The areas which will be affected during the Aug 3 to 30 TEMCO include those within a 1km radius of Restoran Nasi Kandar Salleh in Pekan Napoh (Mukim Hosba, Kubang Pasu), Kampung Pida Satu, Megat Dewa (Mukim Ah, Kubang Pasu), Kampung Bendang Dalam (Mukim Binjal, Kubang Pasu) and Kampung Ulu, Padang Sanai (Padang Terap).

He said the health ministry will administer Covid-19 swab tests for about 7,000 people in the areas, which will be affected by road closures and additional roadblocks.

Mosques and places of worship will be closed for all activities except for Friday prayers, which will be limited to three people in each mosque.

Ismail also said the government today decided that students from B40 families returning to Malaysia will be exempted from paying the cost of mandatory quarantine if they apply for an exemption.

He had said last week that Malaysians must pay a maximum of RM2,100 for food and accommodation during the 14-day stay at Covid-19 quarantine centres, a cost which the government is subsidising by up to half.