COVID – 19: Malaysian New Normal

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Credit Photo: Huawei.com

On Friday, April 10, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin envisaged a significant change in the daily lives of the people following the COVID-19 pandemic in a special message to the Malaysians. As our lives and movements being controlled over multiple phases, we became more sensitive to other aspects such as personal, family, and community’s health. People’s lives for the months or years to come will not be the same as they are adapting to the ‘new normal’ that comes with the outbreak.  Furthermore, the sensitivity is about a life-change that we have never experienced. We must accept whatever that brings good and safety to all; and we must accept the ‘new normal’ and replace previous practices. As of July 16, the total number of positive cases was 8,737, and the death tolls was at 122. This is a valuable experience, as it educates and open our eyes to be more conscious and sensitive with the surrounding (Noor Atiqah, 2020).

Credit Photo: The Star

For the first 30-day since Malaysians undergo the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, 2020, sme of us are taking this opportunity to spend quality time with family on this ‘special holiday.’ Is it true? The facts are things has changed 360 degrees, which includes absence of traffic congestion, no massive crowd in city, closure of schools and educational institutions are still close, and only essential services can run under certain conditions. The Department of Environment’s (DOE’s) found that some locations had an improved air quality rates when MCO’s first phase was implemented. At Batu Muda and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, air pollution flows for nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine dust are 2.5 microns while Putrajaya’s air quality decreased significantly between March 1 and March 30, 2020 (Hakim, 2020).

As the MCO reached the fourth phase, feelings of discomfort started to mount. At the same time, the question of when the MCO period will end has caused a great deal of anxiety, especially for the Muslim community, which are going to celebrate a Ramadan and then the Syawal. During this trying time, the excitement of buying a meal at a Ramadan bazaar and praying at the mosque were dimmed as the activities can not be performed to keep everyone safe during the outbreak. Nevertheless, the question arises on how the MCO has affected people’s daily life in terms of living and mental health? Malaysians have had no choice, and they have to prepare for the MCO, which is a very different situation compared with a month ago. The changes includes our health system, which have to follow the Ministry of Health’s standard operating procedure as well as the security measures taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs’. It is a drastic change, but people need to be brave. It does not only affects one life, but it is our social responsibility to break the country’s chain of COVID-19 transmission. Put the positive vibes more than negative feelings and avoid any violent behaviour, then this MCO can be something that we can cherish. For records, during the MCO period from March 18 to April 15, 2020, a total of 353 cases of domestic violence reported to the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) (Muhaamad , 2020). The incidence of domestic violence is due to various causes of jealousy conflict, misunderstanding, monetary issues, and a spouse who is a drug addict. Besides, a total of 135 calls for domestic violence cases were recorded through ‘Talian Kasih’ under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (Ainaa, 2020). To deal with the disrupted daily ‘mood’ and to induce negative attitudes, it is recommended that a person undertake various activities in his spare time to avoid the same daily routine.

Otherwise, we need to perceive what happens as a blessing which bring many benefits instead of just its downside. COVID-19 has generally taught us to be disciplined and created a family-friendly environment. If we were lazy to wash hands beforehand, it has now becomes a routine. Besides being able to maintain family ties, eat together, and conduct relaxing activities. This year, we can celebrate Ramadhan with the family through many religious activities. We need to be creative in planning our activities to avoid boredom that can lead to further mental health stresses. Take advantage of the culinary activities with the children due to this year’s absence of Ramadan bazaars, besides praying Tarawih with family members.

Photo Credit: New Straits Times

MCO has also changed the meeting patterns of the educational and work sectors using online platforms. It is including Google Classroom, Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype. It is not a surprise that Malaysia recorded the world’s highest search term ‘Google Classroom’ which demonstrates educators’ effort to use online teaching and learning medium during the MCO period. On 17 April, Malaysia is ahead of 51 other countries, including advanced countries, which were also included in the popular search over the past month, while Indonesia ranks second among the top five, followed by Albania, Serbia, and Hungary (Nurhidayah, 2020).

What has been alarming is that the prolonged outbreak and extended MCO period have affected the global economy, and many feared they would lose their jobs, especially the low-income group. It is not the new normal that we are expecting, and it is hoped that this situation will not last long due to its colossal impact on us. It is undeniable that various business sectors have been affected, although there is no accurate figure announcement. The recovery would not be at the same pace across all sectors. While the government has demonstrated its best commitment and provided a significant amount of resources to fight the outbreak, recovery has been identified for years to come. Until people’s confidence has been restored, economic activity will rise again and allow them to work together against this pandemic and economic crisis. In the meantime, let stay healthy, strong, and safe! We must win!

About the Author

Mohamad Razali bin Ramdzan@Raaban is a Liaison Executive at utility company based in Shah Alam. His work across multiple disciplines broadly in Public Relations and Valuation & Property Management. Aside of having interest and critical thinking in Malaysia’s political landscape, the holder of Excellent Candidate Award for Master in Communication also a doctoral student at UiTM Shah Alam.

 

 

 

 

References

Ainaa, A. (2020, April 16). 135 domestic violence cases reported to govt hotline. Retrieved from Free Malaysia Today: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/04/16/135-calls-to-govts-domestic-violence-hotline-under-mco/

Hakim, H. (2020, April 1). Malaysia’s air quality improves after MCO. Retrieved from The Rakyat Post: https://www.therakyatpost.com/2020/04/01/malaysia-air-quality-improves-after-mco/

Muhaamad , H. (2020, April 17). PKP: 353 kes keganasan rumah tangga dilaporkan. Retrieved from Harian Metro : https://www.google.com.my/search?sxsrf=ALeKk00J5-tehfOfz3lxaLlQqsMYehOHeA%3A1588812568074&source=hp&ei=GFuzXoa7AsHaz7sP–SW6AE&q=353+kes+dilaporkan&oq=353+kes+dilaporkan&gs_lcp

Noor Atiqah, S. (2020, July 16). COVID-19: Tiga kes baharu hari ini. Retrieved from Berita Harian: https://www.bharian.com.my/berita/nasional/2020/07/711609/covid-19-tiga-kes-baharu-hari-ini

Nurhidayah, H. (2020, April 17). Carian ‘Google Classroom’ di Malaysia tertinggi di dunia. Retrieved from Sinar Harian: https://www.sinarharian.com.my/article/79328/BERITA/Nasional/Carian-Google-Classroom-di-Malaysia-tertinggi-di-dunia

 

 

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