People Barred From Moving Within Malaysian States: Partial Lockdown Gazetted

People are only allowed to move to perform an official duty, travel for essential services, get food or daily necessities, or seek medical treatment.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — People are not allowed to travel from one place to another within states in Malaysia, except for certain purposes, according to a gazetted regulation by the Health Minister.

The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within The Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, gazetted by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba today, appear to describe a partial lockdown amid the Covid-19 outbreak, even though the government has insisted on not using the term “lockdown”.

According to the regulation, people are only allowed to move within states to perform an official duty; to travel for essential services (including buying takeaway food and drink); to purchase, supply or deliver food or daily necessities; to seek medical treatment; or any other special purposes as permitted by the Director General.

People are also prohibited from travelling from one “infected local area” to another, except with prior written permission from a police officer. Each state in Malaysia — Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu, and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan — has been designated an infected local area.

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador reportedly said yesterday that the police would provide exemptions for travel between Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. He also said in a statement late last night that interstate travel would only be allowed in these circumstances: deaths of close family members, dying family members, medical treatment for self and family, and other matters based on the police’s discretion.

According to the regulation, people are also prohibited from gathering within states, whether for religious, sports, recreational, social or cultural purpose.

Funerals are permitted, provided that the number of attendees “shall be kept to the minimum.”

The National Security Council (NSC) has also prohibited people from jogging alone in outside areas.

People must comply with any request from authorised officers for information relating to prevention and control of infectious disease, according to the regulation.

The list of essential services are defined in the regulation as: banking and finance; electricity and energy; fire; port, dock and airport services and undertakings; postal; prison; production, refining, storage, supply and distribution of fuel and lubricants; health care and medical; solid waste management and public cleansing; sewerage; radio communication, including broadcasting and television; telecommunication; transport by land, water or air; water; e-commerce; defence and security; food supply; wildlife; immigration; customs; hotels and accommodation; and any services or works determined by the Minister as essential to public health or safety.

Violating the regulation is an offence that is punishable by a fine not more than RM1,000, a maximum imprisonment of six months, or both. Companies who commit an offence also face charges.

The coronavirus outbreak in Malaysia has surged to 673 cases, including two deaths. A total of 428 cases were linked to a recent tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur that has also seen infections spread to Singapore, Brunei, and Cambodia.

Most of the coronavirus infections in Malaysia are clustered in Selangor and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya at 161 and 113 cases respectively. The third-highest number of Covid-19 cases is in Sabah at 82.

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