In his follow-up address on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Malaysia, prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin ordered the restriction of movement (“Movement Control Order” or “MCO”) throughout the country with effect from 18 March until 31 March 2020. This includes the closure of non-essential governmental and private premises as well as a blanket ban on all mass gatherings.
[UPDATE] The Malaysian government has extended the MCO until 14 April 2020.
After rumours of a lockdown caused panic-buying amongst the people, the prime minister urged all citizens to remain calm and not panic.
The Movement Control Order falls under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and Police Act 1967.
The Government has stressed that this is not a lockdown.
What the Movement Control Order entails
All mass movement and gatherings including religious, sports, social and cultural are prohibited. To enforce this, all houses of worship and business premises are to be closed except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery and convenience shops that supply daily essentials.
Specifically for Muslims, all religious activities in mosques including Friday prayers (Solat Jumaat) are to be postponed in line with the decision of the Special Mental Health Committee meeting on 15 March 2020.
Secondly, all outbound travel is banned. For those who have returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to go on voluntary self-quarantine for 14 days.
Malaysia will close its borders to all inbound tourists and visitors during the period.
All nurseries, government and private schools at primary, secondary and tertiary level educational institutions will be closed. This includes daily schools, international schools, tahfiz centres, and boarding schools. To add, all public and private institutions of higher learning and skills training institutes will also be closed.
Lastly, only governmental and private premises involved in providing essential services will remain operational, which includes water, electricity, energy, telecommunication, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil and gas, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, security, defence, cleaning, retail, and food supply.
The prime minister assured the public that food items, daily essentials and health supplies like face masks have sufficient supply. He added that the Special National Safety Council which he chairs will meet daily to monitor the situation.
He urges everyone to adhere to the order.
For any enquiries and for further information, the public can contact the National Operations Centre hotline at 03-88882010 starting 12PM tomorrow.
Malaysia’s COVID-19 situation report
As of today, there are 553 confirmed cases with a staggering 190 new cases reported yesterday and another 125 cases today. Out of that number, 511 are being treated in hospital, while 42 have recovered.