Control and Support Measures in Malaysia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
On 16 March 2020, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced the implementation of a nationwide Movement Control Order ("MCO") which began on 18 March 2020 and was initially scheduled to end on 31 March 2020. This order was made pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 with the objective being to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
However, due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases seen in Malaysia during that time, the Government made a decision to extend the initial period of the MCO to 14 April 2020 (Phase 2) and the MCO was subsequently further extended until 28 April 2020 (Phase 3). The Prime Minister recently made an announcement extending the MCO period to 12 May 2020.
The MCO has essentially resulted in the restriction of movement for all residents and includes the imposition of bans on gatherings nationwide whereby individuals are required to stay within the confines of their own residences and are only allowed to travel to obtain essentials such as food and medicine, and where necessary, access to healthcare and medical services. The MCO has also caused the imposition of travel restrictions and the closure of all government and private premises save for those involved in the supply of essential goods and services.
During the MCO, the Government gazetted the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") which provides that any person who is in breach of the Regulations shall commit an offence and shall, upon conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or to both.
As part of the Government’s efforts to mitigate the social and economic impact of COVID-19 and the MCO, on 27 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a RM250 billion stimulus package known as the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN). Through this stimulus package, financial assistance will be channelled to targeted individuals, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industries to provide temporary relief. Such relief measures under PRIHATIN include cash payouts, wage subsidy programmes, deferment for repayment of certain loans, and an exemption period for payment of rental for public housing.
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Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only
intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.