2020 Malaysia movement control order

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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
Police inspection during the movement control order.
Date18 March 2020 (2020-03-18) – present (27 days; scheduled to expire 14 April 2020 (2020-04-14); tentative)
Caused byCOVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia
GoalsIsolate the source of the coronavirus pandemic
  • 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.
(order expires on 14 Apr)

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]

Malaysia blockade isolation measures

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. Initially, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) said that anyone who disobeys the control measures can be subjected to various penalties under the Penal Code.[5] 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.[6]

All interstate travel, except travels to Sarawak are subjected to a required written police permission with valid reasons within the control period.[7] 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.[8]

During the order, PDRM conducted road blocks throughout the nation to ensure and warn Malaysians to stay home and abide the order.[9][10][11] Starting from 22 March, Malaysia's military forces are mobilised to assist PDRM to ensure the effectiveness of the order.[12]

On 25 March, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin through a live national telecast announced that the control order is extended till 14 April.[13][14]

On 30 March, the national government designated that all businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants, including food delivery services can only be operated from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. starting from 1 April.[15] Sarawak, however, insisted on its operation time of 7 a.m. till 7 p.m., citing that Sarawak's daylight is earlier than in West Malaysia.[16] Further measures were instilled starting from 1 April; a person must not be accompanied with other people during travel except for medical purposes, a 10 km travel radius for all travellers (including for medical purposes) and the banning of all types of gatherings except for funerals, however the attendees must be kept to a minimum.[17]

Enhanced Movement Control Order

From 27 March, some specific areas in Malaysia were subjected to a stricter order called the "Enhanced Movement Control Order" 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 spreading of the pandemic outside the areas. The orders included:[18]

  • all residents and visitiors 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.[18] On 30 March, this order is applied to a few places in Hulu Langat, Selangor due to a detection of a cluster involving a madrasa with 71 positive cases.[19] A residential tower in Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur was subjected to the extended order on 31 March as 17 cases involving residents of the tower were detected.[20]

Measures by state


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 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. 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.[21] From 1 April, PDRM's state division tightened state borders and set up roadblocks on the state's major highways.[22]


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]

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.[23][24] Scheduled bus services travelling between Singapore and Johor Bahru were suspended as well.[25] 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,[26] 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.[27][28][29] 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.[30] 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.[31][32][33] Other diplomatic missions closely monitoring the situation of the restrictive movement and awaiting further instructions both from their government and Malaysia's government.[34]

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.[35]


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. MCO violators face a fine of up to RM1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Bunyan, John (16 March 2020). "PM: Malaysia under movement control order from Wed until April 14, all shops closed except for essential services". The Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  2. ^  • Sukumaran, Tashny (16 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Malaysia in partial lockdown from March 18 to limit outbreak". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
     • Muhammad Daryono, Adhi; Wahyu Nugroho, Kelik (16 March 2020). "BREAKING NEWS: Malaysia Lockdown Mulai 18 Maret" [BREAKING NEWS: Malaysia Lockdown Starting 18 March]. Kumparan (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
     • Artida, Rodney (17 March 2020). "Malaysia imposes two-week nationwide lockdown". The Filipino Times. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
     • "Malaysia closes borders, shuts most businesses in lockdown". Associated Press. 16 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020 – via ABC News.
     • "Malaysia PM announces nationwide lockdown, border closure". Kyodo News. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Tang, Ashley (16 March 2020). "Malaysia announces movement control order after spike in Covid-19 cases (updated)". The Star. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Covid-19: Movement Control Order imposed with only essential sectors operating". New Straits Times. 16 March 2020. Archived from the original on 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  5. ^ Azman, Fareez (17 March 2020). "Sesiapa yang langgar Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan boleh ditahan - KPN" [Anyone who violates the Movement Control Order can be arrested - KPN]. Astro Awani (in Malay). Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  6. ^ Ahmad, Azyyati (18 March 2020). "Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan digazet, hukuman 6 bulan penjara, tambahan sektor penting" [Movement Control Order gazetted: punishment of 6 months in prison, additions regarding important sectors]. Astro Awani. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  7. ^ "COVID-19: Public to inform police for interstates travel". Bernama. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  8. ^ "◤行动管制14天◢ 管制令前首个U Turn 越州通行证喊停!" [◤ 14 days of operation control◢ The first U Turn cross-country pass before the control order is stopped!]. China Press (in Chinese). 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  9. ^ Trafik KL tingkat operasi kawal pergerakan [KL Traffic Board increases movement control operations] (video) (1:13) (in Malay). 19 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020 – via Astro Awani.
  10. ^ Sekatan jalan raya di Sibu berjalan lancar [Road blocks in Sibu ongoing well] (video) (1:31) (in Malay). 20 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020 – via Astro Awani.
  11. ^ Lee, Stephanie (21 March 2020). "MCO compliance improving in Kota Kinabalu". The Star. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Movement Control Order: Services of military to be mobilised effective from Sunday". Bernama. 20 March 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020 – via Astro Awani.
  13. ^ "MCO period extended to April 14 - PM". Bernama. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  14. ^ Tee, Kenneth (25 March 2020). "PM: Covid-19 shutdown extended to April 14". The Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  15. ^ "MCO: New business hours 8 Am-8 Pm, starting April 1 - Ismail Sabri". Bernama. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  16. ^ "PKP: Perniagaan di Sarawak beroperasi 7 pagi hingga 7 malam - Dr Sim" [MCO: Businesses in Sarawak to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.]. Astro Awani (in Malay). 31 March 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  17. ^ "MCO: Travel now restricted to 10-km radius". Bernama. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b Saiful Sham, Nursyazwani (26 March 2020). "COVID-19: Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Diperketatkan dikuatkuasakan di dua kawasan di Simpang Renggam" [COVID-19: Enhanced Movement Control Order enforced in two areas in Simpang Renggam]. Astro Awani (in Malay). Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Batu 21-24 in Hulu Langat under enhanced MCO, starting midnight - Ismail Sabri". Bernama. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Menara City One on Jalan Munshi Abdullah under lockdown". Bernama. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  21. ^ "包括油站饮食店·彭6县7PM后禁营业" [Including petrol station and restaurants · Pahang is closed after 7PM]. Sinchew+ (in Chinese). 19 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  22. ^ "MCO: Pahang police to further tighten state borders from midnight tonight". Bernama. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  23. ^ Chandra, Alif; Meah, Natasha (17 March 2020). "Malaysia lockdown: Some Singaporeans seek to return home quickly, even though they can leave the country anytime". Today. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  24. ^ Ting Wei, Toh (17 March 2020). "Sufficient accommodation for all Malaysian bus drivers, bus services to be slightly affected: Khaw". The Straits Times. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  25. ^ "Suspension of Singapore-Johor Bahru Cross-border Bus Services From 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020". Bus 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Panic Buying Returns to Singapore After Malaysia Announces Lockdown; New Church Cluster Emerges (Map)". Coconuts Singapore. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  27. ^ Pasya, Haikal; Armandhanu, Denny (17 March 2020). "Malaysia Lockdown, Bagaimana Stok Makanan Singapura?" [Malaysia Lockdown, How's Singapore Food Stock?]. Kumparan (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  28. ^ Lai, Linette; Koh, Fabian (17 March 2020). "S'pore not in danger of running out of food or supplies: Chan". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  29. ^ Royston, Sim (17 March 2020). "Flow of goods and food supplies between S'pore and Malaysia will continue despite lockdown over coronavirus: PM Lee". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 23 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Embassies cease issuing visas; bar Malaysians to curb spread of Covid-19". New Straits Times. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  31. ^ Abdul Rahman, Dziyaul Afnan (17 March 2020). "Warga Thailand berpusu keluar Malaysia [METROTV]" [Thai nationals head out of Malaysia [METROTV]]. Harian Metro (in Malay). Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  32. ^ "แรงงานไทยเดินทางกลับบ้าน หลังทางการมาเลย์สั่งปิดประเทศ 14 วัน หวั่นโควิด-19 ลุกลาม" [Thai workers return home after the Malaysian authorities ordered to close the country for 14 days, the dreaded Covid-19 became aggressive]. MGR Online (in Thai). 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  33. ^ Pinandita, Apriza (17 March 2020). "Indonesians in Malaysia remain calm as they prepare for lockdown". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  34. ^ "International community monitoring Malaysia's restrictive movement order". New Straits Times. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  35. ^ "槟威渡轮暂调整服务班次·20日至31日每天仅2艘川行" [Penang Ferry temporarily adjusts service schedules · Only 2 river cruises per day from 20th to 31st]. Sinchew+ (in Chinese). 19 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  36. ^ Mohsen, Amar Shah (2 April 2020). "4,100 arrested so far under MCO". The Sun. Retrieved 2 April 2020.

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