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MCO started on Mar 18, 2020


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Movement Control Order: M’sians prohibited to go out except for these 5 reasons

The Movement Control Order on Malaysia starts today, 18th of March until the 31st of March 2020. Yesterday’s last-minute directive from the Royal Malaysian Police had caused confusion and many had congregated at various police stations to obtain forms which pose a risk of COVID-19 infection. After the police called off the requirement to obtain approval for interstate travel, the Health Minister, Dr. Adham Baba has provided more clarification on the restriction.

Based on a new set of regulations that were gazetted today, Malaysians should not move about within their vicinity unless it is for special purposes or essential activities such as buying food or seeking healthcare. The new regulations are known as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the infected local areas) regulations 2020, are applicable from today, 18th March until 31st March.

Under the new regulation, the government ordered that no persons are to make any journey from one place to another place within the state or federal territories except for the following reasons:

  1. To perform any official duty
  2. To buy, supply or deliver food or daily necessities
  3. To seek healthcare or medical services
  4. To make a journey to and from limited categories of premises, including any premises which provide essential services, premises involved in the food supply chain, premises selling food and beverages through drive-through, takeaway and delivery.
  5. Or any other special purposes that may be permitted by the director-general

In summary, you are only permitted to leave your home only to perform necessary tasks and errands, and not for social or leisure purposes.

Funerals permitted with minimal attendees

As part of the original movement control order, all forms of gathering which cover religious, sports, recreational, social and cultural events are prohibited. However, for funerals, the ceremonies can still be held provided that the number of attendees is kept to a minimum.

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Police permission required to cross state borders

To further contain the disease from spreading to other places, the new regulation also states that no one shall travel from one infected local area to another infected local area without the “prior written permission of a police officer in charge of a police station”. With the new advisory, this limits the scope of who can travel interstate and Malaysians should remain where they are unless they have strong and valid reasons to do so. In summary, this isn’t the time for balik kampung or cuti-cuti Malaysia.

It isn’t clear how the police will enforce the interstate restriction since the police have told the general public not to come to the police station to obtain permission. 12 hours ago, the official Facebook page of the police had shared that people are free to travel interstate.

For the next two weeks, non-essential premises are ordered to close. Essential services and premises such as wet market, supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, convenience stores, ATMs, and clinics will remain open. Restaurants and eateries can still operate but it must be limited to take-aways and deliveries only.

Both Grab and FoodPanda are operating as usual and Tesco has also emphasised that all of its 60 stores will remain open during the Movement Control order.


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Alexander Wong