The Malaysian government has approved for the filming industry to resume operations after Hari Raya, according to Malay Mail. Citing communications and multimedia minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, it is reported that the approval was given during the National Security Council meeting on 19 May. Malay Mail also reported that production houses are allowed conduct their shoots with a strict standard operating procedure (SOP), while the approval for live programmes to resume is still under discussion. It is added that Saifuddin will be meeting industry players on Thursday to have a better understanding of the live programme operation and its production.

This comes two weeks after the Malaysian Association of Advertising Filmmakers (PPFIM) appealed to the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia to allow the industry to resume shooting commercial films during this COVID-19 crisis. In a letter addressed to Saifuddin, the president of PPFIM, Khoo Kay Lye said how the Movement Control Order (MCO) has affected the livelihood of people in the filming industry, and proposed a set of SOP that the industry will follow, should the ministry allow the resuming of shooting.

Following Khoo’s appeal, the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) has also appealed to the Malaysian government to make a clear distinction between business events and mass gatherings, with a view to establish a restart date for this crucial economic sector. Currently, under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), conferences and exhibitions are prohibited from taking place.

Alan Pryor, chairman of BECM, said in a press release that it was important that the government understood that the business events industry can operate safely under comprehensive SOPs. Malaysia’s business events venues and facilities can offer controlled environments combined with high quality operational standards to ensure the health and safety of people, which has always been and will continue to be a primary concern of the business events industry. As such, the sector should not be subjected to the mass gathering restrictions that apply to other large-scale events such as weddings, religious gatherings, sports events and concerts.

“Event venues are economic engines for their cities and communities, creating significant tax and travel revenues as well as jobs,” Pryor said, adding that the industry has also developed a set of SOPs which have been submitted to the government via the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB). According to Pyror, the SOPs incorporate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, and physical and social distancing. Based on the SOPs, Malaysian business event venues will also be required to implement a variety of other measures including temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touchpoints, contactless transactions and daily monitoring systems.

Malaysia entered a Conditional MCO (CMCO) period earlier this month on 4 May, with some businesses allowed to resume. According to Malay Mail, business activities that may cause a crowd to gather remain on the list of prohibited activities during the CMCO.

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