KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — The federal government is set to undertake a monumental task of reducing existing standard operating procedures (SOP) from about 180 to just 10 in the upcoming weeks as the country gradually transitions from the Covid-19 pandemic into an endemic phase.
Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the government aims to streamline and revise existing SOPs for it to be easily understood by the public, industry stakeholders and enforcement agencies following a meeting involving four ministries on Covid-19.
He revealed this ahead of an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob over further relaxations allowed under the National Recovery Plan (NRP) at a time yet to be determined.
“On the SOPs that will be announced, we will reduce the existing SOPs (covering the four NRP phases) numbering a total of 181 to our target of 10 SOPs. It will take a bit of time but I think it will be a lot easier for the public to understand.
“I mean, we have been working with these SOPs for more than a year and when I asked the timeline… I don’t know but God Willing, two to three weeks. I hope it can be done,” he said in a press conference at Parliament today.
Apart from Hishammuddin, those present during the meeting were Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
In a statement later, Hishammuddin said the benchmark used to determine the revised SOPs will not only take into account scientific data from the Health Ministry but also feedback and views obtained from experts and industry stakeholders.
Separately, Hishammuddin said relaxations to existing SOPs agreed in principle during the Covid-19 Pandemic Management Special Committee discussion with the prime minister earlier today will be announced in due time after the four ministries tasked with revising the SOPs scrutinise their suitability for public implementation.
On relaxations, some of them included expanding the existing tourism bubble to other destinations and the reopening of gyms.
Citing Langkawi as an example, Hishammuddin also said the proposed travel bubble is for the sake of the public’s well-being and risks undertaken meant that not all destinations could be open to all.
Langkawi has been given the go-ahead to be the first tourist destination in the country to reopen as part of a travel bubble pilot project starting September 16.
Those flying to the island do not need permission letters from the police as interstate restrictions are exempted to all with the condition that travellers must be fully vaccinated prior to travelling.