As of 1st August 2020, the Malaysian federal government enforced the mandatory use of face masks across the country as part of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, in a bid to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Those who are found breaking the law will be slapped with a hefty RM1,000 fine.
While that may be a necessary measure given the current circumstances, it is worth remembering the fact that while we may take the purchasing and use of face masks for granted, there are those who are less privileged in society who are not able to afford the additional commitment of having to buy boxes of face masks for use daily.
Such is the case of one young boy, who was found to have been reusing the same tattered face mask that his family had given him over and over again, to a point where the ear-loops of his face mask had to be sewn back in place from wear and tear. His plight was shared over social media by netizen fazri_hassan, who also happens to be the student’s teacher.
Hari ini saya ambil sedikit masa berbincang dgn murid mengenai pemakaian pelitup muka ketika berada di dalam kawasan yang sesak. Terdiam seketika saya apabila melihat pelitup muka seorang murid kelihatan kotor dan siap berjahit lagi tali dia. pic.twitter.com/5LQevPvKAm
— فزري حسن (@fazri_hassan) August 5, 2020
“I took a moment of my time today to explain to my students why wearing a face mask is important in crowded places. I was immediately at a loss for words the moment I noticed one of my students was wearing a dirty face mask, with its ear loops needing to be sewn back in place.”
In the photo included with his Tweet, Mr Hassan shows how his student’s face mask had been stained into a dark colour from dust and debris, while the ends of its ear loops had to be threaded in place after they had begun to fall out from repeated wear and tear. When he asked his other students, he was told that some of them would wear the same disposable face mask for up to 2 to 3 days.
Speaking to mStar, Mr Hassan reveals that the student who had been wearing the tattered face mask is a special needs student in Primary Six.
Dah tukar pelitup muka murid dengan yang baharu dan siap sedia pelitup muka percuma untuk murid yang tidak berkemampuan kat kelas. pic.twitter.com/h0bxB3v2pm
— فزري حسن (@fazri_hassan) August 5, 2020
To help ease the burden of having their families who may not be able to buy disposable face masks readily, Mr Hassan then decided to buy a box of brand new face masks for his students.
"cikgu! Kenapa bah ndak disusun abc ni betul-betul"
Jemu cikgu dia menjawab soalan 😂😂
Idea yang sangat mudah untuk membantu murid mengecam huruf juga menjadi permulaan untuk mereka berkenalan dengan ICT. pic.twitter.com/NZWTllx1cA
— فزري حسن (@fazri_hassan) July 24, 2020
The Twitter post has since caught plenty of traction among Malaysian netizens, many who pointed out the issues faced by the poor who are unable to purchase new face masks constantly, which puts them at risk of contracting Covid-19 and being slapped with a hefty fine. Similarly, an old man was seen having to dig through a heap of rubbish to find a used face mask to avoid being fined RM1,000 just a week prior.
As of right now, the ceiling prices for face masks in Malaysia is expected to be reduced from RM1.50 to RM1.20 by August 15th 2020.
What are your thoughts on this?
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