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|2020 Malaysia "Movement Control Order" during COVID-19 pandemic|
|Part of 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic|
Police inspection during the movement control order.
|Date||18 March 2020– present (27 days; scheduled to expire 14 April 2020 ; tentative)|
|Caused by||COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia|
|Goals||Isolate the source of the coronavirus pandemic|
(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. The incident was commonly referred to in some local and international media as the "Malaysia partial lockdown" or "Malaysia lockdown".
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.
|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.|
|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.|
|3||Restrictions on the entry of all tourists and foreign visitors into the country.|
|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.|
|5||Closure of all public and private higher education institutions (IPTs) and skills training institutes nationwide.|
|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.|
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. 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.
All interstate travel, except travels to Sarawak are subjected to a required written police permission with valid reasons within the control period. 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.
During the order, PDRM conducted road blocks throughout the nation to ensure and warn Malaysians to stay home and abide the order. Starting from 22 March, Malaysia's military forces are mobilised to assist PDRM to ensure the effectiveness of the order.
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. 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. 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.
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:
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. 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. 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.
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. From 1 April, PDRM's state division tightened state borders and set up roadblocks on the state's major highways.
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.
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. Scheduled bus services travelling between Singapore and Johor Bahru were suspended as well. 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, 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. 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. 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. Other diplomatic missions closely monitoring the situation of the restrictive movement and awaiting further instructions both from their government and Malaysia's government.
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.
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.