2020 Malaysia movement control order

2020 Malaysia Movement Control Order (Malay: Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Malaysia 2020) or MCO refers to a cordon sanitaire implemented as a preventive measure of the federal government of Malaysia towards the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on 18 March 2020, thus a "movement control" was implemented throughout the country.[1] The incident was commonly referred to in some local and international media as the "Malaysia partial lockdown" or "Malaysia lockdown".[2]

2020 Malaysia "Movement Control Order" during COVID-19 pandemic
Part of 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
Ops Covid19 Tentera Mula Operasi Bantu Pdrm Di Shah Alam.png
A police checkpoint in Shah Alam on 22 March 2020, four days following the start of the movement control order.
Date18 March 2020 (2020-03-18) – present (27 days; scheduled to expire 14 April 2020 (2020-04-14); tentative)
Location
Caused byCOVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia
GoalsIsolate the source of the coronavirus pandemic
Methods
  • Prohibition of movement and mass assembly nationwide, including all religious, sports, social and cultural activities.
  • All religious activities in mosques must be suspended, including Friday prayers.
  • Malaysians are barred from leaving the country while restrictions placed on the entry of non-Malaysians into Malaysia.
  • Except for infrastructure services and supermarkets, wet market, grocery stores and multi-functional stores selling daily necessities, all other industries and places must be closed.
  • All nurseries, government and private schools, including boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centres as well as primary, secondary and pre-university education institutions; as well as public, private universities and vocational training centres must be closed.
StatusEnforcing
(order expires on 14 Apr)

Malaysia blockade isolation measuresEdit

At 10:00PM (UTC+8) on 16 March, Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin made a televised speech and officially promulgated the restricted activities order under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.[3]

Details of Movement Control Order 18 March 2020 – 14 April 2020
# Content
1 General prohibition of mass movements and gatherings across the country including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. To enforce this prohibition, all houses of worship and business premises should be closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities. Specifically for Muslims, the adjournment of all religious activities in mosques and mosques including Friday prayers is in line with decision made on 15 March 2020 by the Special Muzakarah Committee Meeting of the National Fatwa Council.[4]
2 Sanctions cover all Malaysians travelling abroad. For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to do a quarantine (or self quarantine) for 14 days.[4]
3 Restrictions on the entry of all tourists and foreign visitors into the country.[4]
4 Closure of all kindergartens, government and private schools including daily schools, boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centres and other primary, secondary and pre-university institutions.[4]
5 Closure of all public and private higher education institutions (IPTs) and skills training institutes nationwide.[4]
6 Closure of all government and private premises except those involved in essential services (water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defence, cleaning, retail and food supply.[4]

Effective by 18 March, Malaysia officially implemented the movement control order measure. On 25 March, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin through a live national telecast announced that the control order is extended till 14 April.[5][6] There have, however, been considerations of a further lockdown until late April or May as the number of cases in Malaysia is expected to peak in mid-April, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).[7][8]

Initially, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) said that anyone who disobeys the control measures can be subjected to various penalties under the Penal Code.[9] However, on 18 March, the chamber of the Attorney General released a federal gazette specific for the control order, specifying a penalty of up to RM1,000 (US$229) and/or up to six months in prison for anyone disobeying the rules of the order.[10]

All interstate travel, except travels to Sarawak are subjected to a required written police permission with valid reasons within the control period.[11] There were reports that a large crowd present in police station trying to acquire the permit hours before the travel restriction in place. Worried that the disease will spread, PDRM cancelled the policy few hours until further notice.[12]

During the order, PDRM conducted road blocks throughout the nation, usually dubbed as "Operation COVID-19",[13] to ensure and warn Malaysians to stay home and abide the order.[14][15][16] Starting from 22 March, Malaysia's military forces are mobilised to assist PDRM to ensure the effectiveness of the order, with around 7,000 military personnels deployed as of April.[17][18]

On 30 March, the national government designated that all businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants, including food delivery services can only be operated from 8AM till 8PM starting from 1 April.[19] Sarawak, however, insisted on its operation time of 7AM till 7PM, citing that Sarawak's daylight is earlier than in West Malaysia.[20] Further measures were instilled starting from 1 April; a person must not be accompanied with other people during travel, a 10 km travel radius for all travellers and the banning of all types of gatherings except for funerals, however the attendees must be kept to a minimum.[21] People who travel for medical purposes are exempted from companion rule and the travel radius.[22]

All levels of supply chains regarding agricultural and fishing industries are allowed to be in operation throughout the order.[23]

Enhanced Movement Control OrderEdit

From 27 March, specific locations were subjected to a stricter order, dubbed the "Enhanced Movement Control Order" (EMCO or Enhanced MCO), for 14 days if a large cluster was detected within the area in order for the government to conduct a thorough COVID-19 test towards all residents, and to curb the spread of the virus out of the areas. The orders included:[24]

  • all residents and visitors within the area are forbidden from exiting their homes during the order;
  • non-residents and visitors outside the area cannot enter into the area subjected to the order;
  • all businesses are shut down;
  • adequate food supplies will be given by the authorities during the 14 day-order to all residents;
  • a medical base will be established within the area;
  • all roads into the area are blocked.

On 27 March, two areas in Simpang Renggam, Johor were subjected to the order till 9 April as those areas alone contributed to a high 61 positive cases.[24] On 30 March, this order is applied to a few hamlets in Sungai Lui, Hulu Langat District, Selangor due to a detection of a cluster involving a madrasa with 71 positive cases.[25] City One, a residential complex in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur which its residents are mainly foreign workers was subjected to the extended order on 31 March as 17 cases involving residents of the tower were detected.[26] Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion, apartment buildings located at Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur, were subjected to EMCOs on 7 April, as 15 positive cases were detected within the two buildings.[27]

On 6 April, Malaysia's Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the government is planning for a new standard operation procedure regarding the EMCO and the government tried to not impose an excessively wide radius towards areas subjected to the EMCO.[28]

Measures by stateEdit

PahangEdit

From 21–31 March, the state of Pahang has enact that all business stores in Kuantan, Pekan, Bentong, Jerantut and Temerloh (Cameron Highlands had already begun to implement the measure on 16 March) must only operate during the day up to 12 hours, and need to close after 7PM to 7AM According to the measurement, all shops that were originally allowed to operate during the period of the control order, including drive-thru restaurants, fast food restaurants, and petrol stations, are no longer allowed to operate between 7PM and 7AM.[29] From 1 April, PDRM's state division tightened state borders and set up roadblocks on the state's major highways.[30]

PerakEdit

Wholesale market operating hours in Perak during the MCO were designated from 4AM to 10AM, however, from 6 April, wet food-related businesses such as poultry and seafood were designated from 4AM to 10AM, while businesses for vegetables and fruits were designated from 11AM to 4PM. The closure from 10AM till 11PM was dedicated for cleaning processes.[31]

TerengganuEdit

PDRM in Terengganu was planning to instill a traffic control based on vehicle registration numbers, where vehicles with odd registration numbers can be only allowed in odd-numbered days and vice versa, starting from 1 April, however was postponed to give way for a detailed study of the proposed control.[32]

EffectsEdit

Essential suppliesEdit

The usually crowded Lim Chong Eu Expressway and its surroundings (Queensbay Mall) in Penang deserted throughout the movement control order as seen on 22 March 2020.

Before Malaysia announced the movement control order, supermarkets across the country began to see a surge in panic buying, and the supply of surgical masks everywhere was out, causing prices to skyrocket. In response, the Prime Minister of Malaysia said in a televised speech on the 16th assured that supply of food, daily essentials and healthcare (including surgical masks), were sufficient nationwide, adding that the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs would be monitoring the food supply and the daily demand of the market during the period of its closure.[3]

TransportationEdit

 
Square in front of the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall on 20 March 2020 during the movement control order.

Scores of Malaysians working in Singapore and foreigners rushed back to the immigration checkpoints in the hope to return to Singapore before the order became effective. Singapore-based public transport operators had arranged temporary accommodation at several hotels to accommodate the affected Malaysian Bus Captains.[33][34] Scheduled bus services travelling between Singapore and Johor Bahru were suspended as well.[35] The announcement of the movement control order reportedly caused some anxiety among Singaporean residents over their food supplies, of which a significant portion came from Malaysia. Panic buying briefly returning in Singapore as Singaporeans rushed to supermarkets to stock basic necessities,[36] and Singapore's ministers and Prime Minister had to assure them that there would be enough supplies for the country, and that the flow of goods between the two countries would continue.[37][38][39] Moments after the order was announced in Malaysia, With the announcement of the movement control, various diplomatic missions such as the United States and France have ceased issuing visas, while India has prohibited Malaysian citizens from travelling to its country.[40] Thai residents began to heading out of Malaysia in large numbers while the large community of Indonesians in Malaysia also prepared for the situation as reported by their embassy.[41][42][43] Other diplomatic missions closely monitoring the situation of the restrictive movement and awaiting further instructions both from their government and Malaysia's government.[44]

As the number of passengers decreases significantly during the movement control order and to reduce the risk of infection of passengers and employees, Malaysia's bus operator of Rapid Bus readjust the frequency of all its buses starting from 20 March where it also encourage the people to plan their trips in advance. Rapid Ferry also has made adjustments by reducing to two ferries each day to operate starting from 20 March. Each shift will be changed from the original 20 minutes to 30 minutes. After 10PM, the frequency of the ferry service will be changed to 1 hour. As for the last ferry ride time, it will depend on the arrival time of the last bus in Penang Sentral.[45]

On 4 April 2020, all Express Rail Link rail services were to be suspended until the end of the control period due to significant reductions in passenger flow.[46]

Arrests and crimeEdit

On 2 April 2020, Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob reported that 4,189 individuals had been arrested over the past two weeks for flouting the movement control order. Of these, 1,449 individuals have been charged in court.[47] The MCO has led to a decrease in the national crime rate by around 70%.[48] Data from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development suggested a slight increase of domestic violence nationwide during the MCO, however in control.[49]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit