We're no psychic or clairvoyant, but looking at the news in the past week, it looks like the Movement Control Order (MCO) will be extended yet again.
The government is still discussing the issue and is expected to make an announcement on Friday (24 April) or Saturday (25 April), but signs are pointing towards an extension.
Let us tell you why we think so.
1) We're still fighting COVID-19
Sure the number of cases has reduced this week compared to the previous few weeks, but we're still recording cases by the dozens.
Like the Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press conference on 21 April: "The war has yet to be won, but we have made significant improvement in terms of reducing the cases. Hopefully we can bring down the figure."
During the same press conference, he also listed six criterias to look into before deciding to lift MCO.
The six criteria that Dr Hisham listed are: border control, MCO, health system, steps to protect high-risk groups, adhering to new norms and working together with relevant authorities to come up with an exit strategy.
As we mentioned earlier, MCO is not 100 per cent sucessful yet as we yet as we still have many cases recorded each day, and so far there hasn't been any announcement of an exit strategy.
2) The possibility of allowing students to return home and people in hometowns to return to the city
On 22 April, Senior Minister (Defense) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that the government is in discussion on the possibility of sending students stuck in their higher education hostels to return home.
He had also said that the government is looking into the possibility of allowing those who travelled to their hometowns when MCO was first announced to return to the cities.
Right now, those wishing to do so have been asked to either use the Gerak Malaysia App or make an appointment at the nearest police station to send in their applications to travel.
We think that this could go either way. The return of the students indicates that classes may be suspended for a longer period of time, but allowing people to return to the cities may indicate that businesses may be allowed to reopen.
Perhaps, it will be a loosening of MCO instead of a complete lift?
3) Fatwa regarding fasting during MCO is being prepared
According to this report by Straits Times, the Religious authorities, under the purview of Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Al-Bakri, are looking into coming up with a fatwa i.e. a formal ruling on Islamic Law to ensure that Muslims are not confused during this unique times.
One of the decision that has been made is that a person who has to undergo swabs to detect COVID-19 is considered to still be fasting, which means your fast is not considered 'batal'.
Other issues that will be looked into will include the possibilities of frontliners and those found positive for COVID-19 virus skipping their fasts, with the consition of replacing them at a later date.
Should the MCO be extended?
Considering that there has been a high number of people arrested for defying the MCO even before it is lifted, we think it should be extended, however painful it is for us to say this.
The threat of COVID-19 is not over and many countries have seen a return of positive cases once lockdowns were lifted. We have to learn from other people's mistakes.
So far, our Health Ministry and other government agencies have been doing a fantastic job, and we are no experts. So, let's see what announcements are in store is the next few days, shall we?