So far five state governments have said that they will not fully adhere to the new MCO. As far as we know, the five states are Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Sabah and Sarawak. More states may declare their position by the end of the day.
Some states have opt to slow down the opening of businesses, some made variations such as no dine-in for restaurants. Sabah has said it will stick to the original 12th May MCO. Details are lacking and rules are being developed, as I write.
That being the case, my advice to all is to take the next few days to PREPARE AND CONSIDER opening your business. If you intend to go ahead and open, please consider slowing down and use only half of your workforce. Make sure you have temp guns, masks and sanitisers for your workers. You must also put in place a system to limit visitors to your business premise. Then carefully observe how things develop and make constant adjustments to your health and safety process and procedure.
My view is that the government should have stuck to the original 12th May plan and use the period between 4th to 12th May to allow businesses to make proper preparations; allowing only the management staff to go to work to do planning. The sudden u-turn announcement on 1st May by the government shows a fundamental lack of understanding on the logistical realities of re-opening the economy.
On the matter of state governments refusing to fully comply with the MCO, what we are witnessing is a possible “new normal” on federal-state powers. These actions by the states will go to re-define the concept of federalism in Malaysia. For too long, the federal government has had excessive controls over state governments. Things have changed since the backdoor political coup of 1st March. We know that this government is afraid of having Parliament debating and to test its legitimacy. On that account alone, this government is clearly weak and full of fears, and the states recognise this.
The sorry state of play in Malaysian politics can be encapsulated in this first section of the famous Yeats poem; The Second Coming.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.