FAQ: 10 Things to know about the Conditional Movement Control Order in Malaysia

FAQ: 10 Things to know about the Conditional Movement Control Order in Malaysia

"What's going on?"

Text: Ronn Tan

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on 1 May that new measures regarding the MCO will begin on 4 May—here's everything you need to know

Update (7 June 2020):

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) will be extended to 31 August 2020. Beginning on 10 June, it will be called Recovery MCO (RMCO).

During the live telecast, he also said that interstate travel will be allowed, except from or to a red zone. This new ruling will open doors for domestic tourism. International travelling is still prohibited as the country's borders will still be shut.

Operating times for businesses will resume as usual but entertainment hubs such as karaoke and pubs as well as reflexology centres and theme parks are not permitted. Large gatherings still cannot be held and schools to reopen in stages.

Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations and Qurban activities will be allowed  —with adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

On 6 June 2020, Defence Minister Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob revealed that hair and beauty salons will be allowed to operate from 10 June 2020. Another new measure starting on 10 June is that Malaysians returning from abroad will have to be home-quarantined instead of being confined to a gazetted quarantine centre for two weeks. They will be given a swab test upon landing. Those who test positive will be sent to the hospital.


Update (5 June 2020):

The new updated SOP guidelines by the National Security Council of Malaysia require retail customers and employees to download the MySejahtera app. They are also required to register an account.

Retail sectors include optical shops, pet supply shops, hardware shops, shopping malls, supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, clothing boutiques, convenience stores, laundry, restaurants, furniture stores, electrical goods and appliance shops, auto repair and parts stores, bookstores and stationery shops, as well as jewelry shops.

The QR scanner on the app allows you to scan the QR codes in retail shops for the recording of attendance.


Update (2 June 2020):

Films and television productions can start shooting again from 10 June 2020. The conditions listed by Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob are:

1. Only 20 or less people are allowed to be on set at one time.

2. To make sure everyone follows the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), a security supervisor must be appointed.

3. Buffet tables are not allowed on set.

4. Before and after getting talents ready, hair and makeup artists must wash their hands as well as wear a face shield.

5. Auditions and meetings are to be held virtually.

6. Physical contact between cast members are prohibited and social distancing is encouraged.


He also said that registered childcare centers are now allowed to operate beginning 2 June 2020. This includes all 7,000 nationwide. During his daily briefing, he said, "we have agreed with the new SOPs, which we find to be comprehensive and so we have allowed all remaining taska to operate. The SOPs can be seen on the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry website". 

As for preschools or kindergartens, the Education Ministry will be coordinating the SOPs.


Update (31 May 2020):

According to Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the restricted operating hours of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) will no longer be in effect starting 1 June 2020. This means that the operating hours of ATMs will return to normal across the country.

From 1 June 2020, some exemptions to the interstate travel ban will be reintroduced by the federal government. Travelling to other states is only allowed for emergencies (such as deaths and medical reasons) and for spouses to visit their other halves. Those travelling between states for work can still do so.


Update (10 May 2020):

The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been extended by four weeks as advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Security Council (NSC)—from 12 May until 9 June 2020. 

During the special address, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that all standard operating procedures (SOP) that are currently in place will be maintained. Interstate travels are still not permitted, including for Raya, Gawai, and Keamatan.


In a special address on Labour Day morning, the Prime Minister revealed that Malaysia will be implementing CMCO, or Conditional Movement Control Order—beginning on 4 May 2020 (Monday). The Movement Control Order was slated to end on 12 May. As all Malaysians know, the partial lockdown known as MCO started on 18 March.



According to PM Muhyiddin Yassin, "almost all economic sectors will be allowed to open with conditions. This is important as business and work is a source of income. If we are under MCO for too long, we will not get any income and this will have a negative impact on our finances". He also urged all of us to continue washing our hands and to wear our face masks. Moreover, there are more green zones compared to red zones in the country right now; also fulfilling all criteria set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The number of positive cases in Malaysia as of 9 May 2020 are 6,589—with 108 deaths. As Malaysians continue to practise social distancing and self-isolating at home, the recent announcement had us all a little puzzled. With the entire nation in a state of confusion, there are bound to be questions.

Here are the answers that we managed to find:



1. What are the six criteria set by the WHO?

a. International borders are more secured and controlled to avoid importing positive COVID-19 cases

b. Controlling or limiting movement to decrease the rate of infection among citizens

c. Improvement in the capabilities of medical and health facilities

d. The ability to care for seniors, the disabled, and patients under treatment

e. The practice of the new normal in life—social distancing, wearing face masks, avoiding large gatherings, and avoiding physical forms of greeting

f. That communities are fully educated, engaged, and empowered to adjust to the new normal


2. Why is the government re-opening the economic sectors on 4 May?

Based on advice by the Ministry of Health and data provided by WHO, the Malaysian government decided to re-open the economic sectors through the enforcement of tight Standard of Procedures (SOP). Many businesses are allowed to start operating on 4 May 2020—following guidelines and rules set by the government. According to PM Muhyiddin Yassin, the closing of economic activities meant halting the nation's source of income; taxes cannot be collected, industries cannot grow, the growth of the country's economy is suspended, companies have to close, and many continue to lose their jobs.

He also revealed that the country suffers a loss of about RM2.4 billion every day throughout the duration of the Movement Control Order—amounting to nearly RM63 billion so far. If the MCO goes on for another month, the total would be RM98 billion.



3. What are the businesses and activities that are prohibited from operating?

As mentioned by PM Muhyiddin Yassin, a number of industries and businesses are not allowed to start operations on 4 May. They include businesses or activities that will involve large gatherings and physical contact—where social distancing is difficult to control. He named cinemas, karaoke centres, reflexology centres, entertainment hubs, night clubs, theme parks, Ramadan bazaars, Aidilfitri bazaars, recreational fishing, busking, self-service launderettes, cruise ships, beauty salons, barbers, museums, and all forms of conferences and exhibitions.



4. What are the sports you're allowed to do and what aren't?

Sports that require huge gatherings, physical contact, and involve the risk of infection of diseases are prohibited—including football, rugby, swimming, as well as all indoor and stadium activities.

PM Muhyiddin Yassin said that playing badminton and tennis are allowed (without a crowd)—along with jogging, cycling, golf, and running; in groups less than 10. Basically, activities that don't require lots of touching and contact as well as enforces social distancing.


5. How about social events and religious activities?

All social gatherings that involve huge groups are prohibited. They include cultural performances, concerts, formal events, buka puasa events, and open houses. Moreover, all monthly department meetings (both private and public) are also not allowed to be held.

As for religious activities, all assemblies at places of worship such as the mosque, church, and prayer rooms are prohibited. Friday prayers and parades are also banned for now.



6. Can you balik kampung to another state?

The answer is no. According to the PM, travelling across state borders is prohibited—unless you have to do so for work. In addition to that, you are also allowed to go home across state borders if you're stranded in your kampung. For Malaysians that would love to balik kampung for Aidilfitri celebrations, the bad news is that you won't be able to. Hence, you're required to stay where you are.

From 7 May to 10 May, workers will be allowed to travel between states—according to Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob. A travelling schedule will be provided by the police.


7. Can we go back to classes yet?

Based on the announcement, schools, colleges, and higher-learning institutions will not be re-opened any time soon. Therefore, they will remain closed for now. Students will have to continue learning and studying from home until further announcements.



8. What are the Standard of Procedures (SOP) set by authorities that businesses will have to follow after re-opening?

Businesses are allowed to start operating again on 4 May but there are some guidelines that they will have to adhere to. They include maintaining social distancing, frequent washing of hands, the wearing of face masks, and reporting all information about the COVID-19 virus to the Ministry of Health—especially if the incidents involve children, babies, senior citizens, the disabled, and individuals that don't feel well. In addition to that, online transactions (cashless) are encouraged and Malaysians need to take into consideration the amount of passengers in a public transport. Make sure to wear face masks whenever in public vehicles and always bring sanitisers.

Businesses should also encourage working from home unless their presence is needed in the office. To avoid crowding, not all employees should work at the same time. What does this mean? Employers can either set alternate working days or flexible working arrangements.

Employers should also check the employees' temperature to be safe. If an employee's temperature is high, they are advised to head to the clinic.



9. What are the apps to download—according to PM Muhyiddin Yassin?

In this war against the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing is very important. Health personnel are required to know anyone who has been in contact with those who are coronavirus-positive (infected patients). The government has developed the following apps to help with this: MySejahtera and MyTrace. It is our responsibilities as Malaysians to help the Ministry of Health detect any possible new cases. Therefore, the government is encouraging all Malaysians with smartphones to utilise the apps.



10. Can you dine in at your favourite restaurants?

Yes, you can. Eateries that are approved to operate from 4 May will have to follow a few guidelines. Firstly, tables will have to be placed at least two metres away from the other. This will allow the practise of social distancing by both servers and customers. Secondly, customers will need to be notified when it comes to the number of people allowed at a table. For example. the table size can determine whether one or two people can sit together. Thirdly, to ensure a distance of one-metre between each customer lining up to pay at the counter, line restrictions will have to be drawn on the floor.

Next, all restaurants and eateries are required to provide hand wash and hand sanitisers for customers at payment counters. Servers need to spray affected areas with disinfectant whenever a customer uses the table. This will ensure that it's safe and clean for other customers to utilise the area. Of course, every employee has to adorn a face mask at all times. Employers are required to provide them with face masks and aim to make sure that they are worn.

In addition to that, employers will have to take note of the customers' body temperatures on the first day of operations. They can use a suitable body temperature scanner. Last but not least, businesses are required to take note of the following customer details: name, contact number, as well as date and time of arrival.

These guidelines apply to restaurant owners, food trucks, and food stalls.



What happened to 12 May? Although there's the new Conditional Movement Control Order starting on 4 May, the existing MCO will still be in effect—with relaxations only for sectors that are allowed to operate. Restrictions will be more relaxed from 4 May. So make sure to take note of new regulations and guidelines. Let us know if you have anymore questions. Till then, take care. Wash your hands and don't touch your face. Always practise social distancing whenever you're out and about. We're all in this together!

For everything related to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.


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