From on-the-chin mask wearers, to the mask ‘terbalik’ group

Police and Rela personnel making rounds to ensure public are adhering to the SOP in  Kuala Terengganu. - KHIS/GHAZALI KORIPolice and Rela personnel making rounds to ensure public are adhering to the SOP in Kuala Terengganu. – KHIS/GHAZALI KORI

LETTER:┬áSaturday marked a significant day in the nation’s healthcare history as authorities enforced the mandatory use of face masks in public areas and on public transport.

Here is my general observation of that first day. First, 60 per cent of the public are in the “with masks” group. I term it “with masks” to mean that having one doesn’t mean that they are wearing it or using it properly.

The second category is the “taking-it-up-the-chin” group, which comprises 30 per cent of the 60 per cent with face masks. It appears that many people who wear face masks are more obsessed with covering their chin than their mouths and noses.

Many also stand close to their friends and chat, with their face masks wrapped around their chin. This defeats the purpose of wearing it. They should be fined.

Third, the “terbalik” group, comprising 15 per cent of the 60 per cent. Despite numerous reminders, Malaysians are still wearing the face masks incorrectly. The coloured side should be outside.

If it is a white face mask, please check with your supplier which side is which. If you see someone wearing their mask inside-out, please do your bit for the public by correcting them.

Fourth, the “savers” group (five per cent out of the 60 per cent). These people will walk in public without a face mask but as soon as they spot an enforcement officer, they quickly take the mask from their pocket to wear them.

This once again defeats the purpose of having a compulsory face mask law. They should also be fined. Perhaps, double the amount.

Fifth, the “compliant” group (10 per cent of the 60 per cent). These are the Good Samaritans who adhere to the rule of law. Good citizens who know that it is important to mask up. In fact, this group dutifully scans the QR codes before entering business premises, disinfect their hands and adhere to all the standard operating procedures.

Sixth, those without masks group, which constitute around 40 per cent. This group is the problematic one. Some may fall under the “savers” group as they may have the masks tucked in their pocket or purse. They are mostly in the 18 to 35 year age group.

I cannot understand why they do not want to wear a mask. Can it be boiled down to a lack of understanding on why we should? These people might not understand that they could be asymptomatic carriers and can potentially spread the Covid-19 virus.

By not wearing the face mask, not only will one transmit the virus, but one is also at risk of contracting it. So, enforcement is still needed as a reminder for the public to have a safety-first mindset.

At the same time, I urge the government to provide free masks to the B40 group so that they are not burdened with the cost and can comply with the face mask ruling.


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