On 10 May 2021. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
announced that Malaysia will be placed under a nationwide movement
control order ("MCO") from 12 May 2021
to 7 June 2021 due to the recent spike in the number of new
Covid-19 cases in the country.
To give effect to the foregoing, the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2021 ("Movement Control Regulations") were gazetted on 9 May 2021 and came into force on 10 May 2021. This Alert provides a summary of the salient provisions of the Movement Control Regulations.
The Movement Control Regulations apply to all infected local areas subjected to a movement control order, a conditional movement control order or a recovery movement control order as determined by the Malaysian Government and published on the website of the National Security Council which can be accessed here.1
The following activities are prohibited2 -
- Participation or involvement in any procession by any person;
- Social event activities for any purpose;
- Beauty treatment, manicure and pedicure, reflexology and massage activities, at a health and beauty establishment;
- Water theme park and water park activities;
- Entertainment activities at karaoke centers, family entertainment centers, cinema and children's playground in shopping malls;
- Busking activities;
- Sports event and tournament with spectators in attendance, and contact sports activities;
- Tourist attraction activities including tourist attraction activities at zoo, farms, aquariums, edutainment centres, museums, libraries, art galleries, cultural heritage art centers or villages and cultural performance stages;
- Economic activities which may cause a crowd to gather;
- Outbound tour activities by a citizen and inbound tour activities involving foreign tourists entering Malaysia except foreign tourists from countries as specified by the Minister of Health;
- Activities in pubs and night clubs including restaurant business in pubs and night clubs; and
- Any activity with many people in attendance at a place making it difficult to carry out social distancing and to comply with the directions of the Director General of Health ("Director General").
Control of movement and gatherings
- No person shall move from one district to another district within any infected local area, or from one infected local area to another infected local area, except for the following purposes–
a. to supply or deliver food, medicine, dietary supplement or daily necessities;
b. to seek healthcare or medical services;
c. to work;
d. to perform any official duty, judicial duty or any other duty authorised by an authorised officer;
e. to provide humanitarian aid to any person affected by any natural disaster;
f. to attend learning or to prepare and sit for any examination determined by the relevant authority at any learning institution or by any professional body, to provide lessons for the preparation of examination, to conduct an examination or to perform any duty at any learning institution; and
g. for a special or particular reason.
- A person may move within the district where his residence is located subject to any directions issued by the Director General.
- Entry into, or exit from, a place that is subject to an enhanced movement control order is prohibited except for any person who is providing healthcare and medical services or is permitted by an authorised officer.
- A person may gather or be involved in a gathering including congregate to perform prayers at any place of worship of his religion subject to any directions issued by the Director General.
- The Movement Control Regulations also specify conditions applicable to the permitted movements. A person–
a. moving for the purpose of supplying or delivering food, medicine, dietary supplement or daily necessities shall provide the necessary proof as requested by an authorised officer;
b. seeking healthcare or medical services must restrict his movement to a district nearest to his residence if such healthcare or medical services are not available within the district where his residence is located;
c. moving for the purpose of work shall provide the necessary proof as requested by an authorised officer;
d. performing any official or judicial duty shall produce an authorisation letter from his employer, if required by an authorised officer;
e. providing humanitarian aid to any person affected by any natural disaster shall provide the necessary proof as requested by an authorised officer and may be accompanied by any other person subject to any directions issued by the Director General;
f. attending learning or performing any duty at any learning institution, shall provide the necessary proof as requested by an authorised officer;
g. sitting for an examination determined by the relevant authority at any learning institution or by any professional body, or providing lessons for the preparation of examination or conducting an examination shall provide the necessary proof as requested by an authorised officer and may be accompanied by a mother, father or guardian; and
h. moving due to a special or particular reason must obtain the prior written permission of the police officer in charge of the police station nearest to his residence.
Any land, sea or air public transport is only permitted to carry such number of passengers in accordance with the directions issued by the Director General notwithstanding the maximum capacity of the number of passengers that may be carried by the public transport.3
Health examination upon arrival in Malaysia
Any citizen, permanent resident of Malaysia, expatriate or diplomatic corps, or any foreigner permitted by the Director General of Immigration, entering Malaysia from overseas may be directed to undergo health examination upon arrival in Malaysia at any point of entry, or at any other place determined by the Director General. A person who is directed as aforesaid to undergo quarantine at any place is required to wear a wristband provided by an authorised officer.4
Foreign employees to undergo Covid-19 detection test
To prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 at a workplace, an
authorised officer may direct any employer who employs a foreign
employee to cause the foreign employee to undergo a Covid-19
detection test at the employer's cost.5
The Movement Control Regulations revoke the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (Movement Control) (No. 4) Regulations 2021 ("MCO No. 4 Regulations"), Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (Conditional Movement Control) (No. 4) Regulations 2021 and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (Recovery Movement Control) (No. 3) Regulations 2021.
The prohibitions and restrictions imposed under the Movement Control Regulations are substantially similar to those under the previous MCO No. 4 Regulations except for the expanded list of prohibited activities which are mostly social and communal activities. The announcement of a nationwide MCO came as a surprise as Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had on 8 May 2021 announced that the Government had no plans to reintroduce a nationwide MCO.6
The situation appears somewhat confusing as the States of Sabah and Sarawak as well as the Federal Territory of Labuan will continue operating under a conditional movement control order notwithstanding that the Federal Government has announced a nationwide MCO.7
It is evident that the Malaysian Government has yet to bring the current Covid-19 situation in Malaysia under control. The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Malaysia had breached the 4,000-mark several times in the last two weeks and the country's R-naught remains on an upward trend.
Reports of an increasing number of fatalities from Covid-19 infections and of the healthcare system being under severe strain have added to the sense of concern and despondency among the public. The slow rollout of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has also not helped to allay the sense of frustration and helplessness amongst the members of the public. It is hoped that the prohibitions and restrictions under this new round of movement control measures will succeed in bringing the Covid-19 situation in the country under control.
1 The districts of Kota Kinabalu, Putatan and Penampang in the State of Sabah are reckoned as one district.
2 Regulation 10 and Regulation 9 read with the Second Schedule of the Movement Control Regulations.
3 Regulation 12 of the Movement Control Regulations.
4 Regulation 13 of the Movement Control Regulations.
5 Regulation 14 of the Movement Control Regulations.
6 "Govt not planning nationwide MCO, to enforce targeted restrictions instead, says Ismail Sabri", The Star Online", 8 May 2021.
7 "Sabah to stick with CMCO guidelines until May 17 despite nationwide MCO", The Star Online, 10 May 2021 and "Sarawak keeps to CMCO but with stricter SOP until May 17, says state committee", The Star Online, 11 May 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.