Hari Raya gatherings at malls: Stop blaming us, get your details right

STOP pointing fingers at shopping malls whenever COVID-19 cases spike across the country, said business groups.

“We are absolutely bewildered by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba’s claim that families used shopping mallz to gather for Hari Raya celebrations.

“It’s upsetting that the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system is used to stigmatise shopping malls when we have diligently rearranged the gate-keeping process to ensure that the MySejahtera system accurately records information, with data collected not distorted.

“We believe the minister may have been misinformed of the real situation and will not penalise the malls due to no fault of ours,” the groups said, in a joint press release.

The statement was signed by the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO).

Yesterday, Adham said that the HIDE system indicated that since the public were barred from inter-state and inter-district travels, many chose to use shopping malls to gather and celebrate the Hari Raya festivities instead.

Touching on the matter, the groups said since the introduction of the HIDE system, shopping malls have rearranged its process of admitting shoppers.

Talk to us first

Instead of allowing shoppers to first scan the MySejahtera QR code, the process has now been reversed with their gate-keepers first sighting the risk status of the shoppers from their Mysejahtera home screen.

“Only low-risk status shoppers are allowed into the mall. This is to remove the incidents of non-low-risk shoppers being wrongly registered with Mysejahtera as having entered the mall, even though they may have been denied entry due to their non-low-risk status.

“Furthermore, we only allow people in if their temperatures is below 37.5C. This new entry procedure is to ensure that those deemed as low risk which includes ‘casual contact, with no symptoms’ are deemed safe to enter the mall.

“It is definitely an onerous procedure, involving the deployment (and cost) of more manpower which has resulted in numerous altercations with the public, but nevertheless, necessary to ensure that malls are safe destinations,” they stressed.

If indeed the information released by HIDE was true, the business groups said that it would mean that the visitors were at the shopping malls to purchase essential goods, takeaway meals and/or shopping since dine-ins are not permitted.

“Having said that, we again appeal for consultation to be conducted with industry stakeholders to arrive at practical and effective policies, to avoid unnecessary misinformation and further negative impact for the industry,” they remarked. – May 18, 2021.

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