May 4, 2020 marked the beginning of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). Under the CMCO, several business sectors are allowed to resume. Sports enthusiasts can also feel huge relief as they can restart doing activities such as jogging and cycling as well as taking parts in team sports activities that do not involve more than ten people. Likewise, government and private sectors are also allowed to restart their operations. All these, however, should be carried out by observing the safety precautions which have been practiced since the first phase of MCO.

In ensuring the safety of the public during CMCO, the relevant parties including the government, National Security Council and Ministry of Health have drawn up standard operation procedures to curb potential COVID-19 infection from taking place. Ministry of Health Director General, Dato’ Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, in particular stated that the main preventive steps among which are to embrace social distancing, apply all precautionary measures and maintain good personal hygiene need to be observed for the whole period of CMCO. It is really up to the public now to take the responsibilities to obey the procedures in ensuring COVID-19 chain can be broken.

One English idiom says, ‘the ball is in your court’ which means that when a responsibility has been passed to someone, it is up to the person to make the next course of action.  The problem is however, just like in any sports game, some of the ball players could susceptibly choose not to play by the rules. They may just opt to cheat by playing foul or tamper the ball. It is then the obligation of other players or teammates to remind the irresponsible players to behave and stick to the rules and regulations.

Taking this as an analogy to the current context, the writer believes that there are certain people in the community who will flout the standard operation procedures (SOP) with or without purpose. There were already reports of disobedient members of the society who flocked restaurants and public areas and did not observe the SOP the day before the commencement of CMCO. It is without doubt that the government, despite the support from enforcement authorities, will bite off more than what it can chew in monitoring the public observing the CMCO operation procedures.  It is, therefore, the responsible of the other members of the public to remind each other on the importance to abide by the procedures laid down by the authority. We can start giving reminders to the people who are close to us such as family members, close friends and subordinates.

As the ‘stay at home’ mantra gradually makes it gradual exit, it is our responsibility now to remind each other to observe the CMCO standard operation procedures in order to ensure ‘stay at home’ does not make a quick and forced return.



Dr. Azmi Abdul Latiff

Deputy Dean,Centre For Language Studies

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia


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