Malaysia will extend its existing coronavirus restrictions to 9th June, according to a live address by the country’s Prime Minister, aired to the nation yesterday (10/5). The nationwide safety measures, known as the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) allow certain businesses to operate and lift some controls on movement. They represent a relaxation in the previous restrictions (MCO).
In his national address, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that the extension to the CMCO is partly due to a need for interstate travel restrictions around the Lebaran religious festival – a time when many Malaysians traditionally travel home for the holidays.
Malaysia is currently balancing the need for caution and containment with the imperative for economic activity and social movement. In a concession to the latter, Malaysia will permit the assembly of mid-sized groups, provided they are composed of residents from the same state. These gatherings will be limited to 20 people at a time.
Despite the relaxed controls of the CMCO, everyone currently in Malaysia is being advised to follow the official Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of social distancing, wearing of masks and regular use of hand sanitizer. With these measures still firmly in place, Malaysia is looking to the next step in relaxing its COVID-19 restrictions: reopening places of worship.
“I believe with SOPs, mosques will be ready to be opened,” said Muhyiddin in yesterday’s statement. “The same goes for churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples and gurdwaras,” he added. On the issue of interstate travel, the Prime Minister also showed a willingness to relax the controls, with an emphasis on pragmatism.
Malaysia is making progress with its efforts to curb and contain the coronavirus, and became one of the first countries in the world to start lifting its emergency control measures on 4th May. With many Malaysians going back to work, businesses reopening and travel networks showing signs of revival, there is a mood of cautious optimism in the country at present.
“We have tried our best to fight COVID-19, and there are signs of success. But let us not be careless,” says the Prime Minister. “We are still in the early stages of the CMCO, and with many people going out to work, the risk of infection increases, so these coming weeks are critical,” he added.
The latest numbers offer hope. Malaysia has been divided into zones, colour-coded according to the number of infections in each township. Of 1,178 areas surveyed, 94.4% have been designated as green zones, where there have been no recorded cases in the last two weeks; 5.2% are yellow zones, indicating a low number of cases; and only four townships, representing 0.34% of the overall survey, are considered to be red zones, with 40 or more cases of COVID-19.
The four red zones are the Batu township (Selangor), Batu zone (Kuala Lumpur), Kampung Baru zone (Kuala Lumpur) and Pedas township (Negeri Sembilan). In yesterday’s address, Muhyiddin advised residents in those areas to take the necessary precautions when leaving their homes and for anyone outside these areas to avoid going there for the time being. He also appealed to everyone in Malaysia – regardless of the zone they are in – to remain vigilant and take precautions.
“I appeal to everyone to abide by the SOP,” said the Prime Minister. “It’s not difficult – avoid crowded places, ensure social distancing, wear masks, sanitise and wash your hands, and go out only when necessary.”
Panorama Destination continues to monitor the situation in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, and will provide updates relevant to tourism and its recovery from the restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19. To get all the latest news, follow our social media channels: