Most Businesses Allowed to Resume Operations During Fourth Phase of MCO
During a special address on May 1, Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that most economic sectors and businesses will be allowed to resume operations starting May 4 during the fourth phase of the government’s Movement Control Order. The decision came after discussions and deliberations between the country’s Economic Action Council, National Security Council, and Health Ministry. Prime Minister Muhyiddin clarified that businesses re-opening their doors must adhere to the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) and all companies that have not previously received approval as an essential industry must provide company details to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) at notification.miti.gov.my between May 4 and May 12 to pledge that they will abide by such procedures. Businesses that fall within the government's Negatives List will not yet be able to resume operations. Restrictions will remain in place for mass gatherings, certain social activities, and various other sectors as they involve close contact, groups of more than 10 people, and places with high infection risk.
The conditions for businesses to operate outlined in the government’s SOP includes social distancing protocols creating at least 1 meter between people, use of face masks, and sanitation of company property at least twice a day. Companies must monitor and prevent infection through symptom screening/reporting of COVID-19 symptoms and use of protective personal equipment when social distancing is not feasible.
The SOP for manufacturing mandates: emergency response protocols for monitoring and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace; daily body temperature scanning and symptom screening of workers before they enter the premises; immediate reporting and referral of employees with COVID-19 symptoms; disinfection of premises three times a day and before each shift; social distancing measures and use of face masks in common areas; and sanitation of employee vehicles and housing if provided by employers.
Regarding logistics and transportation sectors, thermal scanning, use of face masks, social distancing measures, and strict sanitation of restrooms will be required for air travel. Maritime ferry services and port operations will follow similar procedures, as well as encourage the use e-wallets and ban preference block seats by passengers. The logistics sector is required to periodically clean vehicles, provide face masks and sanitation resources for employees, and provide 1-meter social distancing marking in warehouses.
Operations in areas under enhanced movement control orders (EMCO) are still prohibited, and activities remain subject to decisions of local councils. The following activities and sectors will remain banned:
- Social activities and recreation such as cinemas, theme parks, and museums.
- Celebrations, processes, and assembly such as religious congregations.
- Conferences and exhibitions.
- Education (no face-to-face activities or programs involving more than 10 people).
- Sports (no spectators or indoor/contact sports).
- Cruise ships.
- Stalls without fixed premises or markets within/without buildings – various food and beverage providers in markets.
- Centralized labor quarters.
- Clothing and fashion outlets (no fitting of clothes).
- Self-service laundry.
- Forestry ecotourism.
- Auction of agricultural livestock products and agricultural festivals.
- Use of hotel facilities like surau, gyms, saunas, spas, lounges, swimming pools, meeting rooms, buffets.
The government also noted that should COVID-19 cases or transmission increase, the MCO may be reinstated. Companies that fail to adhere to the SOP may face legal action or halting of business operations. Still, the change appears to have come as an attempt to revive the country’s economy, which according to Prime Minister Muhyiddin lost RM63 billion during the MCO. Prime Minister Muhyiddin estimated that should the MCO continue for another month, that loss could increase to RM98 million.
Should you have any questions, or if your company’s operations remain impacted by the MCO, please contact our Malaysia team.