Three trade associations that are said to represent shopping malls and retail industries in Malaysia have publicly urged the government to stop releasing the daily list of high-risk locations as detected by the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) COVID-19 early warning system.
Through a joint statement, the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPKM), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), and Malaysia Retail Chain Associations (MRCA) said the first HIDE list which was published yesterday published incomplete information and didn’t provide an accurate picture of the real-life situation.
The statement pointed out that HIDE does not include premises and operations that did not adhere to proper SOPs including the implementation of MySejahtera check-in. Hence, they would not appear as a hotspot in the system even though they could be one in real life.
The trade associations also insist that shopping malls have adhered to all SOP requirements and have also performed enhanced cleaning as well as sanitisation in a frequent manner to make sure that they are safe to visit. They also cited the recent analysis by Code Blue which said that only 4.78% of COVID-19 cases from late February to early April came from shopping areas as opposed to factories that covered 48.06% of the cases.
Through the same statement, PPKM, MRA, and MRCA have also opposed the closure order announced by Senior Minister for Defence, Ismail Sabri Yaakob. They collectively said that the directive is premature and will cause “irreversible damage” to businesses.
Despite the protest though, premises that have been listed by HIDE including the well-established large shopping malls such as Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Suria KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall, and Sunway Pyramid did adhere to the directive from the government even though it was imposed on such a short time frame.
(Source: PPKM [pdf]. // Do note that the main image was not captured today, but instead, it was taken on 10 May 2020.)