13 January 2021
Malaysia

On 11 January 2021, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced the reintroduction of the Movement Control Order (“MCO”) beginning from 12.01am Wednesday, 13 January 2021 until 26 January 2021. The MCO will be implemented in three stages with the following restrictions:

Type of MCO States Restrictions 
MCO Pulau Pinang, Selangor, Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah 
  • Interstate and inter-district travel is prohibited.
  • No social gatherings (weddings, wedding receptions), conferences, religious processions (including Thaipusam), meetings, seminars, courses, and group sport activities.
  • Roadblocks will be mounted with movements limited to a 10km radius.
  • Only two people per household are allowed to purchase groceries and necessities.
  • Any violations will be subjected to a maximum fine of RM1,000 under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
  • Five essential economic sectors are allowed to operate: manufacturing; construction; service; trade and distribution; and plantations and commodities. Only 30% of employees in a company’s management are allowed to work onsite, with employers to determine the number of employees permitted at any one time, taking into consideration compliance with the standard operating procedures (“SOPs”).

For more on the SOPs for the manufacturing sector and the list of essential services under MITI, please click here, here and here.

  • For sectors not classified as essential services, employees must work from home and employers must comply with this ruling.
  • Restaurants and hawker stalls are only allowed to operate for take-away. Food delivery services are allowed.
  • Supermarkets, healthcare services (including clinics, hospitals and pharmacies), banks are allowed to operate with strict SOP compliance.
  • Students sitting for the SPM 2020 and 2021 sessions will be allowed to attend schools in compliance with strict SOPs. The education ministry will provide further details.
  • Only a maximum number of five mosque/houses of worship committee members are allowed on the premise.
  • Outdoor recreational activities are allowed among people within the same household and individuals must keep a distance of two meters at all times.

For more details on the SOPs issued by the National Security Council, please click here and here.

Conditional Movement Control Order (“CMCO“)Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu
  • No interstate travels.
  • No social gatherings (weddings, wedding receptions), conferences, religious processions (including Thaipusam), meetings, seminars, courses, and group sport activities.
  • Religious activities are allowed with the minimum number of attendees. State religious authorities are advised to issue appropriate guidelines to determine the number of attendees allowed.

For more details on the SOPs issued by the National Security Council, please click here and here.

Recovery Movement Control Order (“RMCO“)Perlis and Sarawak
  • Interstate travels is prohibited.
  • Social gatherings are allowed, provided that full compliance with SOPs are followed.
  • Religious activities are allowed with the minimum number of attendees. State religious authorities are advised to issue appropriate guidelines to determine the number of attendees allowed.

For more details on the SOPs issued by the National Security Council, please click here.

Extension of nationwide RMCO

Earlier, the Government of Malaysia announced that the RMCO will be extended from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021.

The announcement was gazetted on 31 December 2020 with the issuance of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) (Extension of Operation) (No. 7) Order 2020 (“Extension No. 7 Order”) (link) and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No.9) Regulations 2020 (“Regulations No. 9”) (link).

Regulations No. 9 replaces the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No. 8) Regulations 2020 (“Regulations No. 8”) which expired on 31 December 2020 and provides as follows:

Prohibited activities

The activities that remain prohibited include tourism activities, activities in pubs and night clubs and any activity with many people in attendance making it difficult to carry out social distancing and to comply with the directions of the Director General of Health.

Movement to places subjected to enhanced movement control order are prohibited

Entry into, or exit from, a place that is subject to an enhanced movement control order is prohibited except for healthcare and medical service providers or those permitted by an authorised officer.

Control of gathering

Gatherings, including congressional prayers in any place of worship is allowed subject to directions issued by the Director General.

Public transport permitted subject to directions by Director General

Holders of any land, sea or air public transport licence or permit to carry passengers shall ensure that they carry the number of passengers according to the directions of the Director General notwithstanding the total maximum capacity of the number of passengers for respective public transport.

Health examination upon arrival in Malaysia

Those entering Malaysia from overseas¹ are required to undergo a health examination upon arrival in Malaysia at any point of entry before proceeding for immigration clearance.

Those directed to undergo quarantine shall wear a wristband provided by the authorised officer.

For Malaysian citizens undergoing quarantine, in the event the test results are not available after the expiry of the quarantine period, they shall not be liable to pay any costs and expenses charged or incurred for medical attendance and maintenance at the quarantine station until the result of the detection test is available (see Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Medical Attendance and Maintenance of Person Removed to Quarantine Station) (No.2) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (link)).

Foreign employees to undergo COVID-19 detection test

Foreign employees are required to undergo COVID-19 detection tests and the costs or charges for the tests are to be borne by the employer.

Where foreign employees are required to undergo quarantine, the employer shall bear the costs and expenses incurred for the medical attendance and maintenance of such foreign employee at the quarantine station or place (see Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Medical Attendance and Maintenance of Person Removed to Quarantine Station) (No.2) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (link).

Penal sanctions

Any person who contravenes any provision of Regulation No. 9 or directions of the Director General or an authorised officer commits an offence and will be liable to a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

Body corporates may also be held liable and be charged severally or jointly with those responsible for the management of the affairs of the company. If found guilty, the company shall be liable to the same punishment or penalty as an individual unless the company or those responsible for management could prove that the offence was committed without their knowledge or consent and that they had taken all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

Other developments

The Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Amendment) Act 2020 (link) and the Supply Act 2021 (link) has been passed which increased the budgets for the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN), Additional Prihatin SME Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN SME+), National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) and Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (KITA PRIHATIN).

Further, the King declared a state of emergency until 1 August 2021 to help curb the spread of COVID-19 (link).

The announcement states that the declaration of emergency will not impact the MCO and SOPs, the civilian government will continue to function and Parliament will not be recalled until after 1 August. Businesses will also be allowed to operate as normal.

Zaid Ibrahim & Co Taskforce

We continue to be fully operational to serve your legal needs. If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact ZI-Covid19@zicolaw.com.


This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. 

¹ These include Malaysian citizens, permanent residents, expatriates or diplomatic corps or any other foreigner permitted by the Director General of Immigration to enter Malaysia.