Malaysia Analytical Update - Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO): May 4, 2020

Malaysia Analytical Update | May 4, 2020
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Tina Jamaluddin, Emma Tabatabai, Marc Mealy, Alberto Coria, Nick Zuroski

Fourth Phase of Movement Control Order Now Called Conditional Movement Control Order 

During a press conference in Putrajaya on May 4, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that regulations for the next phase of its movement control policy effective May 4 will be known as the “Conditional Movement Control Order” (CMCO) or MCO5, compared to the previously used MCO4 announced by the Prime Minister on May 1.  The CMCO, like the MCO4, will allow most economic sectors to re-open subject to the government’s standard operating procedure (SOP).  MCO5 regulations will now also replace those of MCO4 regarding business operations and personal movement. 

The changes under the CMCO allow four people living in the same house to travel in one vehicle if necessary, compared to a previous limit of two individuals from the same household.  In addition, the ten-kilometer radius limit from which individuals can travel from their place of residence no longer applies, but interstate travel remains banned.  Below is a chart comparing the government’s May 1 “negative list” on banned business activities and the new MCO5 prohibited categories of activities:

Previous MCO4 Banned Economic Sectors

Current MCO5 Prohibited Categories of Activities

Social and recreation (cinema, theme parks, museums)

Entertainment, leisure, and recreational activities that may cause a crowd to gather

Celebrations, process, and assembly (religious and political)

Religious, cultural, and art festivities that may cause a crowd to gather

Social activities (feasts, weddings)


Conferences and exhibitions

Business activities that may cause a crowd to gather

Businesses/stalls without fixed premises or markets within/without buildings (retail/food and beverage/misc.)

Commercial activities involving sales and marketing not within business premises, or in public places, not including food business at food courts, hawker centers, food stalls, food trucks, and the like

Congregating, visiting, and socializing in centralized labor quarters

Activities at centralized labor quarters, employee hostels, and dormitories that may cause a crowd to gather

Installation/maintenance of construction machinery with more than 10 people

Installation and maintenance of machinery activities (lift, escalator, boiler and others) and tower crane at construction sites in groups which may cause a gathering

Banking/financial services sales and marketing outside of premises or in public

Activities of financial services industry and banking, involving sales and marketing, not within the premises of financial institutions and banks, or in public places

Agro-commodity certification

Certification for agriculture commodities

Forestry ecotourism and training


Festivals/seminars for agriculture


Recreational fishing/exhibitions at aquariums


New applications for theory or practical explosives examinations in mining and quarrying

Theory and practical examinations for shot-firer (blasting) for mining and quarrying industry

Filming or public events in creative arts

Filming movies, dramas, documentaries and advertisements

Interactions between artists and visitors in culture/arts


Fitting of clothes in fashion outlets

Fitting of clothes, using fitting rooms in clothes stores, trying on fashion accessories in stores and providing cosmetic testers in stores

Self-service laundry, folding of clothes



Services in barbershops and beauty salons

Tourism and hotels

Cruise ship activities, tourism services, and services at accommodation premises under the Tourism Industry Act

Transport (cruise ships)


Education (face-to-face and assembly)


Sports (spectators, indoor, contact)


For more information on Malaysia’s COVID-19 standard operating procedure and previous MCO4 restrictions, please see the Council’s May 1 update.
Senior Minister Ismail Sabri also noted that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988 remains relevant during the CMCO and failure to comply with the new phase’s regulations under the act may bring a fine of up to RM1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months. 

State governments and the federal governments are not in agreement after a meeting the National Security Council held with Chief Ministers on April 28.  Nine state governments have announced that they will not follow CMCO relaxations and maintain stricter control over public-facing business operations. Reactions from Malaysia’s 13 states are as follows:

  1. Selangor: Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari stated that restaurants will not be allowed to have dine-in customers.
  2. Negeri Sembilan: all recreational activities are banned.
  3. Perak: park visits are still prohibited. 
  4. Penang: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that businesses will re-open on May 8 instead of May 4
  5. Kedah: Security working committee convenes on May 5 and will decide whether to relax MCO regulations.
  6. Kelantan: will postpone implementation of CMCO until its security committee meets on May 7. 
  7. Sabah: will maintain MCO4 provisions until May 12 excect for critical services. 
  8. Sarawak: operating under MCO4 until implications of CMCO provisions can be studied further.
  9. Pahang: operating under MCO4 until implications of CMCO provisions can be studied further.
  10. Johor: Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said the local authorities will work to ensure the CMCO is properly implemented but added that SOPs set by the federal government could be modified if the local authorities found a need for it.
  11. Terengganu: plans to implement CMCO but will return to previous restrictions if compliance is low or if health is impacted.
  12. Malacca: sports activities and dine-in restaurant customers will not be allowed.
  13. Perlis: will implement CMCO in line with federal government, will review measures from time to time via state security working committee. 

Parliamentary opposition leaders have used the MCO relaxations to call for an extended sitting of Parliament on May 18.  The sitting was originally scheduled to only last for one day to discuss government bills and matters.  A joint statement by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng asked for a two-week sitting in light of the CMCO and proper social distancing guidelines.  The statement argued that a longer sitting would allow more in-depth debate and more opportunity to implement Parliament’s legislative agenda.