Stay at home, understand!

There is a general misconception that employers are not allowed to contact a doctor to verify a medical certificate. However, should you need to validate the sick note, you’re well in your right to contact the doctor, to verify the information your employee has given. 


What do the movement control order (MCO) and a medical certificate (MC) have in common?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the answer, but my varsity-going niece racked her brain trying to figure it out.

Three minutes and 20 seconds later, she answered gleefully, “You don’t have to work or go to class.”

Uh, yes and no; that’s not the answer I was expecting!

Both documents are for people to stay at home! Doctors issue MCs for sick employees to stay at home to recuperate. As for the MCO recently issued by the government, it restricts citizens to their homes to contain the deadly Covid-19.

I will concentrate first on the MCO as our nation is going through a health crisis which is placing tremendous pressure on the economy. With investors wary about the virus’ impact on the domestic economy, the MCO is seen as a double whammy, disrupting economic activities across the country.

But the MCO is a “temporary discomfort”. As our Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar aptly put it when I buzzed him in the morning yesterday: “The MCO is only temporary which we all have to put up with for the sake of the nation. Don’t worry about the economy; worry about our health first.

“The economy can recover over time with government assistance and economic packages. We will have plenty of that soon. But can we bring a life back when it’s gone? Think about that.”

Absolutely right, sir! I can’t agree with you more.

Wan Junaidi said his ministry had put together a series of packages for our entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, to help them handle the devastating effects of Covid-19.

“Just wait for the prime minister’s announcement. There are a lot of economic aid and assistance for the people,” said the minister.

Back to the restricted movement order, please let us all adhere to it. This is not a time for the Cuti-cuti Malaysia getaway or to balik kampung. Or go dating under the coconut tree, or be in close proximity in a bush or in a car parked in a dark spot, talking about the facts of life. Do all that in the comfort of your home.

As for those who wish to fulfil their religious obligations, the government and religious authorities have come up with several measures. Listen to them. And remember, God helps those who help themselves!

Please play your role to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. It’s sad to note that two more deaths were recorded yesterday, bringing the number of fatalities to 10 nationwide.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed there are now 1,306 Covid-19 cases. Sixty-two per cent, or 743 cases, involved members from the Sri Petaling Mosque’s tabligh group.

While many are serious about the MCO, there are still some who are nonchalant about the measures introduced by the government. I just don’t know what to say about these people.

Yesterday, I saw my neighbour and his wife. Oh, wait, I think it’s the whole jingbang walking their poodles in the neighbourhood park. I thought someone should advise them, but then they’d just snap back. Better to let them be. Perhaps the cops would deal with in Batu Kawah.

Before I move on to the MC, allow me to recap some of the following directives laid down under the MCO:

  • Ban on large gatherings, including religious activities, sports, social and cultural events;
  • Restriction on all overseas travels by Malaysians;
  • Total restriction on tourists and foreigners entering Malaysia;
  • Closure of all educational institutions;
  • Shutdown of all government and private premises except those involved in providing essential service.

My newspapers, New Sarawak Tribune and sister paper Suara Sarawak, come under the essential services. So please appreciate us. We are working so that you are well-informed.

Now, about the medical certificates, doctors issue MCs to patients after they have taken sick leave, which simply means they are to stay home and rest, and not bring their families to the cineplexes or spend time in shopping complexes.

Several decades ago, when I was a sectional head in a company in Sibu, MCs were very common. Sometimes I received two or three weekly! While most of them were genuine, the others were fake.

I took the trouble to check the authenticity of some of the MCs and discovered sick leave was requested by the staff members themselves. I was even told that one of them was seen at a cinema watching a Hindi movie with his fiancée one afternoon when he was supposed to be at home recuperating.

MCO or MCs are issued for a purpose and not to be abused or misused, so stick to the conditions.