PETALING JAYA: While Malaysia has made the wearing of masks indoors optional, most educational institutions in the country have yet to declare if they will follow suit.
According to the Health Ministry, premises owners have the discretion to decide whether to impose the wearing of face mask within their establishments, and most educational centres have not changed to the new ruling.
At least one university is maintaining the compulsory use of masks.
Sunway University president Prof Sibrandes Poppema said the requirement to wear face masks indoors will still be maintained at campuses under the Sunway Education Group.
“At university campuses like the Sunway education group campus, one finds very large groups of students and staffers in crowded areas such as the elevators or for prolonged periods such as in the classrooms.
“Therefore, Sunway Education Group has decided to maintain the current standard operating procedures (SOP), including the requirement to wear face masks indoors,” said Prof Poppema.
While he feels the Health Ministry’s move to ease the mask-wearing requirement is good, Prof Poppema said it is still important that people continue to mask up when in congested places.
“Although it is generally good that the government decided to remove the indoor face mask-wearing requirement, it is equally good to have exceptions for situations where people are in crowded areas or get in contact with people who are vulnerable.
“Examples are, of course, public transportation and hospitals,” he said.
City University has made masking optional as Covid-19 cases drop.
“Though it is now an option given to students, we will still encourage our students to wear masks. Wearing masks is now part and parcel of our daily routine and is simply good hygiene,” said City University executive director Datin Rohaidah Shaari.
She said this also protects everyone from being exposed to infectious droplets, which is preferable to wearing no masks at all.
Checks with several other universities in the country saw that none has made official announcements that wearing face masks indoors is optional, in tandem with the government’s latest directive.
Jessica Wong, 20, a student at a private university in Subang Jaya, said mask-wearing at her campus appears unchanged on the first day after the Health Ministry’s announcement.
“I read the news and I knew that wearing masks is no longer compulsory when indoors. However, I still want to wear them because I feel safer that way.
“In my campus, everyone seems to be doing the same, including our lecturers. Also, since there is no new announcement by our university on this, I think I’m fine to continue masking up in classes,” said Wong.