Malaysia allows outdoor sports and recreational activities in MCO areas after public furor

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Sports and recreation in open spaces that do not involve close physical interactions are permitted in Malaysia from Saturday May 8.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports said permitted activities include jogging, cycling and other forms of exercise but these must be carried out in wards or within the same district subject to the current movement control order (MCO) which is currently enforced in the region.

The announcement follows public concerns and strong reactions to the standard operating procedure (SOP) imposed on sporting and recreational activities during the current MCO period.

One of the country’s leading infectious disease experts and a member of the World Health Organisation’s Scientific Council, Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, had called on the government to allow members of the public to practice outdoor sports .

Non-contact activities in open areas must adhere to the minimum physical distance of 1.5m as well as the existing SOP for that particular area, the Ministry of Youth and Sports said.

“The National Security Council (NSC) has met to consider the appeal of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to review the decision on sports and recreation SOPs during the MCO from 7th to 20th May,” it said. he said Friday in a statement.

Initially, all sports and recreational activities in MCO-affected areas were not permitted for the next two weeks.

Other aspects for the sports and leisure sectors will be fine-tuned at the next technical meeting of the NSC.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican expressed his gratitude to the NSC members, especially the Prime Minister, who had considered the ministry’s proposal.

He also called on fans and sports enthusiasts to continue fitness activities during the MCO period, for the sake of safety.

“We haven’t won the fight against Covid-19 yet, and all parties should play a more effective role to ensure that MCO enforcement achieves its goal this time around,” he said.

The government had placed Kuala Lumpur and several localities in Johor, Perak and Terengganu under MCO from May 7 to 20, following the same order on six districts of Selangor from May 6 to 17.

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