• UPDATED FEB 16: MCO, conditional MCO and recovery MCO states updated.

KINIGUIDE | With the implementation of renewed Covid-19 restrictions beginning midnight tonight, several states and federal territories will return to the tight restrictions of a full-fledged movement control order.

Other states, meanwhile, will see changes to the conditional MCO and recovery MCO imposed in those states.

This instalment of the KiniGuide will provide a quick rundown of the salient points in the new restrictions.

This article is based on statements from Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin, International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Jan 12, just hours before the restrictions come into effect.

Who is affected?

States under the MCO: Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

States under the conditional MCOMalacca, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah, Labuan, Putrajaya

States under the recovery MCO: Perlis

What's different this time?

Interstate travel will be severely restricted throughout the country at the stroke of midnight tonight. For areas under the recovery MCO, this would be the only significant change to the SOPs.

For areas under the conditional MCO, many social activities such as meetings, exhibitions, reunions, and wedding ceremonies would be prohibited, whereas these are currently allowed at half the venue's original capacity.

Additional restrictions would also be imposed on sports and recreational activities.

Interdistrict travel will be restricted in areas under the MCO once it comes into effect at midnight.

Nevertheless, more sectors of the economy will be allowed to operate, compared to when it was first implemented on March 18, 2020.

In tandem with this, childcare centres and private kindergartens will be allowed to remain open to cater to working parents. Government-operated kindergartens will be closed.

However, that still leaves many activities and businesses closed compared to the conditional MCO that is in place before MCO comes into effect.

What will be prohibited under MCO?

According to Ismail Sabri, the following activities are not allowed in places under MCO:

  • Night markets and night bazaars.
  • Clothing shops, opticians, barbers and hair salons, spas and reflexology centres.
  • Tuition classes, music classes, dance classes, art classes, revision classes, language classes, etc.
  • Night clubs and pubs.
  • Theme parks, indoor playgrounds, karaoke centres, and cinemas.
  • Concerts and live events.
  • Face-to-face meetings.
  • Seminars, workshops, courses, training, conferences, talks, exhibitions, and other activities related to the meeting, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions industry.
  • Social events such as festivals, wedding and engagement ceremonies, receptions, religious events, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, retreats, etc.
  • Sports and recreational activities, except for jogging (in groups of no more than two people and within the local neighbourhood) and cycling (alone, no more than 10km from the place of residence).
  • Sports competitions, championships, and activities that involve large activities or foreign participants.
  • Tourism activities.
  • Any event that involves many people making it difficult to enforce physical distancing.

I need to run an errand, but I am under MCO. What should I know?

In general, you must stay home, but you may venture outside for specific purposes such as purchasing food, medicine, dietary supplements and basic necessities.

No more than two people per household may travel together for such errands, and you may not venture more than 10km from where you live unless the basic necessities that you seek can only be found beyond that radius. In the latter case, you are only allowed to go to the nearest location.

When sending a patient to a healthcare facility, up to three people may travel together, including the patient. The 10km limit still applies.

Most amenities will be allowed to operate from 6am to 10pm only. These are:

  • Restaurants, food trucks, food stalls and other eateries (takeaway, drive through, and delivery services only).
  • Sundry shops and convenience stores.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Supermarkets.
  • Veterinary clinics and shops supplying pet food.
  • Laundry shops, including self-service (coin) laundries, provided staff is present to ensure customers follow SOP.

The allowable operating hours vary for other amenities:

  • Hospitals, clinics, and medical laboratories – 24 hours.
  • Petrol stations – 6am to 10pm; except those along highways which are allowed to operate 24 hours.
  • Daily markets and farmer's markets – 7am to 2pm.
  • Wholesale markets – 12am to 6am, and 11am to 4pm.

I live in an area under MCO. Am I allowed to work?

Check if your industry is among those listed as an essential service by the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti).

If you are, then your business is allowed to continue operations subject to certain SOPs set by the ministry.

Among others, only 30 percent of the management staff are allowed to be physically present on the premises, while the remainder may have to work from home.

The employer would have to also decide the total workforce present at the premises so that safe physical distancing can be maintained at the workplace.

I work in an essential service. How do I get through all those roadblocks to work?

Bring along your work pass or a letter from your employer verifying that you are an employee.

You may also cross state or district borders for work purposes with your work pass or an approval letter from your employer.

I need to send my children to childcare facilities/kindergarten before going to work. Am I still subject to the two-person-per-vehicle rule?

No. When it comes to sending children to-and-fro childcare facilities or kindergartens, the rule does not apply.

In this case, the maximum number of people in the vehicle is limited only by the vehicle's capacity.

I've already bought tickets for interdistrict/interstate travel. What happens to it after midnight?

You may still travel on those tickets, even though the MCO would otherwise prohibit such travel after midnight tonight.

Ismail Sabri said city folk in their hometowns should return to the city before Friday.

My spouse lives across state/district lines. Can I travel just to meet my spouse?

No, although the government may reconsider this after two weeks.

In the meantime, Ismail Sabri advised couples in this situation to be patient.

I'm a student sitting for a major public examination. What should I know?

Face-to-face learning will continue if you will be taking a major public examination for 2020 and 2021. This includes SPM, SVM, SKM, STPM, STAM and DVM, as well as their international equivalents.

Most other students will be learning from home.


This instalment of KiniGuide is compiled by KOH JUN LIN.

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