Kon Yeow says the state was prepared to restart the economic sector under the CMCO but has chosen to implement the PGRS instead of doing it ‘suddenly’. – File photo

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is prepared to face legal action from various parties if it is found to be defying the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.

He said the state was prepared to restart the economic sector under the CMCO but has chosen to implement the Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy (PGRS) instead of doing it 'suddenly'.

He said the gradual approach was taken to protect the lives of 1.8 million people in the state without compromising economic viability, as Penang is the most densely populated state and is at risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I hope Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will respect the state as a strategic partner working towards the nation's economic recovery," he said in a press conference aired live over his official Facebook page here Tuesday.

On Monday, Mohamed Azmin in a statement said state governments may face lawsuits from various parties, particularly industry players, if they stop businesses from resuming their operations from May 4, the date the CMCO was enforced to allow almost all economic sectors to restart.

Chow said the state governments including Penang had not objected to the CMCO implementation at the National Security Council Meeting on COVID-19 Management, chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on April 28, but had requested that they be given time to devise their own strategies to implement it.

Chow said the PGRS is in full compliance with the CMCO and its implementation is in three stages, namely the preparation phase (May 4 to May 7) to enable the sectors to prepare to comply with the SOPs; the familiarisation phase (May 8 to 12) when certain sectors are allowed to open and for the community to gradually adapt to the new SOPs and norms; and the reopening phase (May 13) when the remaining sectors will be allowed to operate subject to the CMCO regulations.

"I would like to reiterate that Penang had never opposed the initiative to restart the economy under the CMCO terms.

"When the prime minister made the announcement on May 1, I immediately responded through a media statement welcoming the decision and vowed that Penang would support the move," he added.