On 17 March 2020, the number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia reached 553, according to the country’s Health Ministry. The rise in cases prompted the Malaysian government to implement a movement control order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The movement control order was issued under the authority of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. Applicable nationwide to Malaysia’s population of 31 million people, the order came into effect on 18 March 2020 and is currently set to remain in place until 31 March 2020.
The movement control order limits movement in Malaysia in the following ways:
The government has imposed a general prohibition on movement and mass assembly throughout the country. This applies to all sporting, social, religious, and cultural activities.
In practical terms, this means that all shops, businesses and religious buildings must close - although food stores and stores selling household necessities can remain open. All religious activities must also be postponed, including Friday Prayer.
All Malaysians are prohibited from travelling abroad while the control order remains in place. Malaysians who have arrived from abroad must have health checks performed and quarantine themselves for at least 14 days.
Foreigners in Malaysia
All foreign tourists and other visitors are prohibited from entering Malaysia.
All schools and universities in Malaysia are closed. The order applies to every primary, secondary, and pre-university institution, and includes kindergartens, boarding and international schools, government and private schools, and religious tahfiz (Islamic) schools.
In addition to school closures, the control order also shuts down all institutions of higher learning (IPT) and skills training institutes. The closure applies to public and private institutions.
Government and Private Buildings
All government organisations and private premises are closed, apart from those that provide essential services. In more detail, those essential services are:
- Water, electricity, power
- Healthcare and pharmaceutical
- Food supply
- Telecommunications and broadcasting
- Oil, gas, fuel
- Finance and banking
- Fire, security and defence
- Port and airport
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyyidin has said that the national security council will be meeting on a daily basis to monitor the situation as it progresses. He emphasised that the measures require the cooperation of all Malayisans: “I appeal to everyone to always comply with this movement control order It is our common responsibility that we must implement as citizens who are concerned about our family, our society, and our country.”
Fore more information on Malaysia’s business rules and regulations, browse our Global Insight Guide to Malaysia.