KUALA LUMPUR: The Embracing New Norms Campaign, which aims to help people adapt to a new way of living to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, must be inclusive so that it becomes a success.
Alliance of Safety Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the fight against Covid-19 should not be left only to the government and frontliners.
He said it should also involve the community and community leaders.
“The campaign is necessary to remind the public of the dangers of Covid-19 and encourage them to embrace the new norms to protect not only themselves, but also their loved ones,” he said.
“They need to be reminded that the battle against Covid-19 is not only the duty of the government and frontliners, but the people’s as well. The campaign must be brought to the community level. Everyone should be involved, including non-governmental organisations, penghulu (village heads), and community leaders.”
He said the fact that other countries in the region, such as Japan and Hong Kong, were seeing a rise in new cases should be a lesson to the people on the consequences if they let their guard down.
Lee was commenting on the campaign launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday. The campaign, which involved all ministries and government agencies, will be carried out until year end.
Experts believed that activities and programmes organised under the campaign should be designed according to the target groups identified by ministries and government agencies.
Universiti Utara Malaysia School of Multimedia Technology and Communication senior lecturer Dr Mohd Zuwairi Mat Saad said activities and programmes under the campaign must also be carried out through the right channels.
He said this was to ensure the objectives of the campaign could be effectively relayed and understood by people in the target groups.
“Campaigns are practical platforms to create awareness among the people. Having said that, it is imperative for ministries and government agencies to establish the character of their target groups,” he said.
“This will enable the government to identify the suitable platform to use when organising activities and programmes so that the objective of the campaign can be understood and embraced by the target audience.”
He said, for example, some people consumed print and electronic media, while others gravitated to social media.
“Hence, we need to identify the best platform so that the campaign’s message reach the target audience.”
Muslim Doctors Association vice-president Dr Wan Julia Sham Ariffin hoped the campaign would adopt a holistic approach and address issues related to mental health and healthy lifestyle not only among schoolchildren, but also people in rural areas.
“I hope the campaign addresses issues arising from mental health among people who were adversely affected by the pandemic.
“I also hope it can educate people on ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, such as drinking enough water and eating healthily.
“This is to help the people develop and strengthen their immune system since the virus is still out there.”
She said the government should also consider introducing stiffer punishments against those who violated the standard operating procedures.