Malaysia’s government has decided to extend the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) by a further 2 weeks. Designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, these emergency measures will now remain in place at least until 12th May, 2020. Under the terms of the MCO, everyone in Malaysia is required to stay at home unless buying medicine, shopping for groceries, or engaging in essential services sanctioned by the government.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin addressed the nation earlier today, confirming that his government is responding to the latest data available from the health ministry. In a now familiar refrain, he did not rule out further extensions to the MCO in May if deemed necessary.
“I do not dismiss the possibility that the MCO will be further extended after this,” said the Prime Minister. “However, if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to drop, the government may relax the restrictions in stages for several sectors, including the social sector,” he added.
Muhyiddin also assured viewers that the National Security Council, together with the Finance Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit, is currently working on a plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions, with a view to reviving the economy in stages; short-, mid- and long-term economic recovery plans are already in the pipeline. Tourism Malaysia also recently outlined their tourism recovery plan for Malaysia.
Malaysia has recently seen a marked decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases, indicating that social restrictions are working. Despite notable success in containment over the last few weeks, the Prime Minister is following a ‘safety first’ approach, ensuring the virus is fully contained and under control before lifting the safety measures.
“The focus right now is to identify steps and initiatives that will quicken the short and mid-term economic growth, as well as drive the confidence of the people and investors to restart the nation’s economy,” said the Prime Minister.
The MCO officially began on 18th March and was initially planned for a period of just two weeks, ending on 31st March. This was subsequently extended to 14th April, then a further 2 weeks until today. The MCO has now been extended a third time.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister warned that the process of re-opening Malaysia may take longer than expected: “we need to be ready to face this situation for quite a while, it may go on for a few more months before we can really make sure that the spread has been 100% curbed,” said Muhyiddin in a televised statement on 10th April.
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: