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Malaysia Journey on Battling the Covid-19 Pandemic

Malaysia
© Qaz farid on Unsplash

2020 has been tough for all of us, for a year we have been battling Covid-19 together, the government do whatever they can to push the number down and this battle is not over yet! We start doing this together and we continue to do this together. As the people who lived in this country and on this planet we also need to do whatever we can to prevent the virus to spread by using Mask, Wash our Hands, and keep our distance and stay away from crowds, #dudukrumah or stay at home if we don’t have any urgent to go out to help those who can’t stay at home because of their job.

Let’s do time travelling to 2020 and see what is happening throughout the year.

First case of Covid-19 in Malaysia was detected on 25th January 2020 and traced back to 3 Chinese nationals who previously had close contact with hand infected person in Singapore. They had travelled into Malaysia via Singapore on the 24th January 2020. They were treated at Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selangor, Malaysia. The Ministry of Health (MOH) quickly devised standard guidelines for the management of COVID-19 and 34 hospitals and screening centres were specifically designated in each state of Malaysia (including Kuala Lumpur Hospital (Kuala Lumpur), Sungai Buloh Hospital (Selangor), Tuanku Jaafar Hospital (Negeri Sembilan), Sultanah Aminah Hospital (Johor Bahru), Miri Hospital (Sarawak), Tawau Hospital (Sabah) (Elengoe, 2020).

On 4th February 2020, first Malaysian was confirmed with Covid-19. The 41-year old man had recently returned from Singapore when he started to develop a fever and a cough. He was quarantined at Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selangor (Elengoe, 2020).

For a year (2020) Malaysia government has applying several rule to prevent the virus to spread (trade, 2020), let’s take a look down below:

FNF Malaysia
© FNF Malaysia

To effectively control the current Covid-19 situation, the Malaysian Government has implemented Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) on the areas with the presence of Covid-19 cases; Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) on the areas with a high number of Covid-19 cases; Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) to a much smaller space with a high number of Covid-19 cases, such as a residential complex or an office building; and Administrative enhanced movement control order (AEMCO) applies similarly to specific high-risk areas but with fewer restrictions (trade, 2020).

Penalties

Any violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that are still in force under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), the offenders could face maximum penalties of MYR 1,000 fine and 6 months jail for various offences. (trade, 2020)

Travel restriction

  1. Domestic

Under CMCO, any interstate travels from Peninsular, Sabah and Labuan are not allowed except with prior permission from the police. However, inter-district travels within Sarawak are allowed, except to Kuching district. Effective 10th October 2020, under RMCO, all passengers including Sarawak citizens travelling to Sarawak, East Malaysia from Peninsular, Sabah and Labuan are compulsory to apply for permission to enter Sarawak through "enterSarawak" and complete the e-Health Declaration Form before departure. All travellers will be subjected to 10 days quarantine at the designated Quarantine Centre and testing are mandatory for all travellers. All costs will be borne by travellers, except for the Sarawak citizens - borne by Sarawak State Government. (trade, 2020)

  1. International

On 7th June 2020, Malaysia Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the country’s borders remain closed and Malaysian are still barred from travelling overseas under the RMCO period, which extended to 31st December 2020. Malaysia is in the early stage of discussions with 6 “Green” countries that it would like to open its borders to post- Covid-19: Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. The borders between Malaysia and Singapore has reopened from 17th August 2020 onwards for the selected travellers under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) travel schemes. RGL is for essential business and official matters involving both countries while PCA enables Malaysian and Singaporean citizens holding long-term immigration passes (for business and worker purposes) to return home periodically for a short break.

On 10th September 2020, Malaysia government announced entry ban of citizens from 23 countries with over 150,000 Covid-19 cases: United States, Brazil, India, Russia, Peru, Columbia, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iran, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, France, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Iraq, the Philippines and Indonesia. Only expatriates and their dependents, including foreign maids to expatriates who are holding a valid long-term pass and/or has obtained pass approval application are allowed to enter Malaysia. Student pass holders from the affected countries will also be allowed into Malaysia. They can only make a one-way journey into Malaysia. (trade, 2020).

MySejahtera

On April 2020, the government of Malaysia developed an application to managing Covid-19 outbreaks in the country namely “MySejahtera”. It allows users to perform health self-assessment on themselves and their families. The users can also monitor their health progress throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, MySejahtera enables Ministry of Health (MOH) to monitor users' health condition and take immediate actions in providing the treatments required (mysejahtera, 2020).

Now let’s travel back to the present.

On January 2021, Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced full MCO on eight states and territories. They are Penang, Selangor, Malacca, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. Another six states will be under the ongoing conditional MCO but with stricter rules than the existing. They are Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan.

Perlis and Sarawak are the only two states that will see the most relaxed rules as they will be put under the recovery MCO. However, the Sarawak government today moved to place Kuching, Sibu and Miri under a conditional MCO (MalaysiaKini, 2021).

The MCO will last from midnight of 13th – 26th January 2021

MCO,CMCO,RMCO (FNF Malaysia)
© Malaysiakini

Prohibited Activities under MCO, CMCO AND RMCO

Prohibited activities under MCO (As of 12 January 2021)

  • Night markets and night bazaars.
  • Clothing shops, opticians, barbers and hair salons, spas and reflexology centres.
  • Tuition classes, music classes, dance classes, art classes, revision classes, language classes, etc.
  • Night clubs and pubs.
  • Theme parks, indoor playgrounds, karaoke centres, and cinemas.
  • Concerts and live events.
  • Face-to-face meetings.
  • Seminars, workshops, courses, training, conferences, talks, exhibitions, and other activities related to the meeting, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions industry.
  • Social events such as festivals, wedding and engagement ceremonies, receptions, religious events, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, retreats, etc.
  • Sports and recreational activities, except for jogging (in groups of no more than two people and within the local neighbourhood) and cycling (alone, no more than 10km from the place of residence).
  • Sports competitions, championships, and activities that involve large activities or foreign participants.
  • Tourism activities.
  • Any event that involves many people making it difficult to enforce physical distancing

Prohibited activities under CMCO (As of 11 January 2021)

  • No interstate travels.
  • No social gatherings, such as weddings, wedding receptions, conferences, religious processions (including Thaipusam), meetings, seminars, courses, and group sport activities.
  • Religious Activities: Allowed with the minimum number of attendees stipulated in the SOP to ensure physical distancing. State religious authorities are advised to provide appropriate guideline in determining the number of attendees allowed.

Prohibited activities under RMCO (As of 11 January 2021)

  • No interstate travels.
  • Social gatherings allowed, provided in full compliance of the standard operating procedures.
  • Religious Activities: Allowed with the minimum number of attendees stipulated in the SOP to ensure physical distancing. State religious authorities are advised to provide appropriate guideline in determining the number of attendees allowed.

National Emergency

On 12th January 2021, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has consented to a Declaration of Emergency Proclamation based on Clause (1) Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. His Majesty also gave his consent for this period of emergency to take effect until August 1 or an earlier date if the number of daily Covid-19 figures can be effectively controlled and lowered.

The declaration of emergency will allow Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to suspend Parliament and delay the Sarawak state election, where the term of its state assembly will automatically expire in June, until later in the year. (Malaysiakini, News, 2021)

When national emergency is announced that means, Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to enact laws without the need to go through the Parliament, Election will not be held, Dewan Rakyat will not convene, and more. But the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin assured that it is not a military coup.

What’s New?

Proposals to increase the penalty for MCO violations. Since August last year The Health Ministry has proposed that the fine for those found guilty of breaking standard operating procedures (SOP) in place to battle Covid-19 be increased from the current MYR 1,000 to MYR 10,000. Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the MYR 1,000 punishment under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) may need to be reviewed to suit current needs. Until today it hasn’t been announce yet either the fine will be increasing.

On 18th January 2021, The Seremban and Port Dickson districts in Negeri Sembilan will be placed under the movement control order (MCO) for 14 days from 19th January – 1st February 2021. The move came after the two areas reported an increase of Covid-19 infections in the past two weeks (Malaysiakini, News, 2021).

Confirmed cases in Malaysia as of 17 January 2021:

Confirmed cases in Malaysia
© Ministry of Health Malaysia

Read more about MCO in Malaysia

What is TEMCO, CMCO, and AEMCO: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/10/11/temco-cmco-aemco-what-these-are-and-what-you-need-to-know/1911569

FAQ about MCO 2.0: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/558704

Green list from Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI): https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/558609

What you need to know about the national emergency: https://says.com/my/news/things-you-need-to-know-about-darurat2021-emergency-mco-malaysia

Source

Arumugan,Tharanya (2021, January 11). New Straits Times (NST). Retrieved from New Straits Times (NST): https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/01/656469/mco-cmco-rmco-dos-and…

Elengoe, Asita (2020, May 11). Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives. Retrieved from Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives: https://ophrp.org/journal/view.php?number=559#b22-ophrp-11-93

MalaysiaKini. (2021, January 11). MalaysiaKini . Retrieved from MalaysiaKini : https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/558499?utm_source=email&utm_medium=te…

Malaysiakini. (2021, January 12). News. Retrieved from King consents to emergency declaration, to be in force until Aug 1: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/558548

Malaysiakini. (2021, January 18). News. Retrieved from Seremban, Port Dickson under MCO starting tomorrow: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/559476

mysejahtera. (2020). mysejahtera . Retrieved from mysejahtera : https://mysejahtera.malaysia.gov.my/faq_en/

trade, f. i. (2020, December 13). flanders investment and trade. Retrieved from flanders investment and trade: https://www.flandersinvestmentandtrade.com/export/nieuws/corona-virus-%…