We can’t RUN but they can still use HIDE!

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 7th of May, 2021

Use the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) detection system to determine whether jogging or exercising by yourself or in small groups, going to gyms and cinemas are the source of large COVID19 clusters
It was announced yesterday that all gyms in the MCO 3.0 areas would be closed as would the cinemas and jogging outdoors, even individually, would be banned.

Not surprisingly, this decision has been heavily criticized by the public and also by medical professionals including the current President of the Malaysian Aids Council, Dr Chris Lee.

The Prime Minister announced in a speech on the 17th of March, 2021 that a more targeted approach to control the spread of the COVID19 virus would be used, including stricter SOPs. Unfortunately, we have not seen this being applied in the policy announcements under MCO 3.0.
Since a new hotspot identification system has been developed by Bank Negara Malaysia and is now being applied, I call upon the authorities to use the past MySejahtera data (assuming it has been stored properly and not deleted) to identify how many clusters were created as a result of outdoor jogging and exercise as well as watching movies in cinemas and exercising in gyms. If the number of clusters are not large (which I think will be the case), then the National Security Council (NSC) should immediately reverse the ban on outdoor jogging and exercise and allow gyms and cinemas to re-open with the already strict SOPs in place.

The same kind of analysis should also be conducted by HIDE for other economic activities such as dining in for restaurants. If there are some restaurants and outlets that have been the source of COVID19 clusters in the past, then these places should be investigated and closed down temporarily if the SOPs were not strictly followed. It does not make sense to have a “one-size-fits-all” approach when MySejahtera login data is available to the authorities and a hotspot detection system has been FINALLY developed by the Malaysian authorities.

While we all can’t RUN (at the moment), the authorities can still use HIDE so that we can be allowed to RUN again, in the near future!

Dr. Ong Kian Ming can be reached at [email protected] or via twitter @imokman.