By Lisa Goh

Malaysia will be under a nationwide Movement Control Order from 18 to 31 March due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced last night.

“All houses of worship and business premises should be closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities,” he said. 

Muhyiddin said that the order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. 

“The current priority of the Government is to prevent the spread of this new epidemic that will affect more people.  The current situation of the outbreak requires drastic action to be taken to recover the situation as soon as possible,” he said. 

In his special broadcast to the nation, the Prime Minister said mass movements and gatherings across the country were prohibited, including religious, sports, social and cultural activities.

The closure will affect all government and private premises except those involved in the essential services – water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking,  health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defense, cleaning/ sanitation, retail and food supply. 

Other key points to note: 

  • Malaysians are banned from travelling abroad, and no tourists or foreigners will be allowed to enter the country. 
  • Malaysians who have just returned from abroad are required to undergo a health check and to self quarantine for 14 days.
  • All childcare centres, government and private schools, boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centres and other secondary, primary and pre-university institutions will be closed.
  • All public and private higher education institutions (IPTs) and skills training institutes nationwide will also be closed. 
  • Specifically for Muslims, the adjournment of all religious activities in mosques and mosques including Friday prayers, in line with the decision of the Special Mental Health Committee meeting on 15 March 2020.

Malaysia has seen a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, with the total number of infected individuals now at 553. Of these, 511 have been hospitalized, while 42 have recovered.

“We can’t wait any longer until things get worse. This is the only way we can prevent more people from being infected by the outbreaks that can destroy lives.

“Don’t panic, don’t worry, and stay calm. I also want to assure you that the supply of food, daily necessities and healthcare including face masks is sufficient.  I have directed the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to continuously monitor the situation of food supply and daily needs in the market during the duration of this Movement Control Order,” Muhyiddin said. 

He also urged everyone to obey the order, saying it was “our collective responsibility that we must carry out as citizens who care about our families, our communities and our country”.

Anyone with questions regarding the Movement Control Order, can contact the National Operations Management Center at hotline 03-88882010. 

By Lisa Goh

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