This comes after a viral incident where an old man reading at the park alone was fined for not wearing a face mask.
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Wearing a face mask is only mandatory in crowded public places, said Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He made the clarification during his Covid-19 press conference yesterday (15 December) after a viral post on social media reported that an individual had been fined for failing to wear a face mask in a public area, even though he was alone.
Only in crowded public places
Explaining the logic behind wearing a face mask, Ismail Sabri said it wasn’t necessary to wear one if you were alone and practised physical distancing.
There are many public places including parks, but if you are alone there is no need to wear a mask because it is only compulsory in crowded public places. In crowded markets, buses and LRT, it is a must to wear face masks.Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Senior Minister (Defence) of Malaysia
He said that sometimes wearing a face mask isn’t possible even in public areas, such as when you’re eating at a restaurant, citing the reason for spaced seating at eateries.
The news was not well received
Despite the obvious loosening of rules, Malaysians online were not amenable to the announcement.
Many expressed that it would be difficult to define the exact meaning of “crowded places”, while others said that changing the SOP would lead to more confusion among the community.
How many person per square meter is considered as crowded? Or up to the whim and fancy of the enforcer? Good mood, not crowded. Bad mood, crowded. Can’t just keep it simple i.e. mask on in public area? Are we not to fight the pandemic?— Vincent Chong (@vinsen76) December 16, 2020
Kembalikan duit RM1000 Encik Lee! https://t.co/LLXArBrh6E— Yvonne #RakyatJagaRakyat 🕊️ 🇲🇾 (@yvonneAPY) December 16, 2020
RM1,000 fine for failing to wear a face mask
On 1 August 2020, the government made wearing face masks mandatory in public places. Those who failed to do so are liable to an RM1,000 fine under Act 342 Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
We attached Ismail Sabri’s actual press conference video below
for you to show the Abam policeman if he stops you. He starts talking about face masks at the 4-minute mark.
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