CMCO Rules Allow Most Businesses, Free Movement Within States

The fifth Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases regulation doesn’t define the size of prohibited gatherings.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — The Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has legally eased lockdown measures in Malaysia, permitting most business operations and freedom of movement within states from today until May 12.

The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within Infected Local Areas) (No 5) Regulations 2020 gazetted yesterday by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba also prohibited most types of gatherings, except for funerals with a maximum of 20 people.

“No person shall in any way participate or be involved in any gathering or procession, whether for economic, religious, educational and learning, sports, recreational, social or cultural purposes,” said Section 6(1) of the fifth regulation on nationwide Covid-19 movement restrictions, without defining the size of a “gathering” or a “crowd”.

The regulation also prohibited people from entering into or exiting from areas subject to Enhanced Movement Control Orders (EMCO), except for those providing health care and medical services or had received permission from the authorities.

Interstate travel remains prohibited under the nine-day-long CMCO, except for work purposes and for stranded people who wish to return home. Those who need to travel to another state for a “special and particular reason” must obtain written permission from the police station nearest to home.

Anyone driving a private vehicle is only permitted to carry a maximum of three passengers, all of whom must stay in the same house as the driver.

Taxis and e-hailing vehicles are allowed to carry a maximum of two passengers per journey. Land, sea, and air public transport cannot carry more than half of the maximum capacity of the number of passengers on board.

Contraventions of the law are subject to a maximum RM1,000 fine, jail not exceeding six months, or both.

The previous phases of the MCO had closed most businesses, except for certain essential sectors, and prohibited people from generally travelling beyond 10km from their homes, subject to police discretion that may allow further travels for medical purposes.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced last Friday that the nationwide lockdown would be partially lifted by allowing most economic sectors to return to full operation and for people to resume social activities, subject to safe distancing measures. Schools and borders would remain closed.

Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference earlier today that all states and districts must follow the CMCO, as the regulation has superseded MCO 4 that was initially scheduled to end on May 12.

His statements came after six states across the political divide — Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Penang, Pahang, and Kelantan — deferred implementing the CMCO today, pending further study on the state of Covid-19 infections in their territories.

Malaysia’s lockdown measures since March 18 amid the Covid-19 epidemic have been regulated under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, a federal law. Health is under federal jurisdiction.

The CMCO regulation listed 13 prohibited activities, but did not define how many people comprised a “crowd”:

  1. Entertainment, leisure and recreational activities which may cause a crowd to gather.
  2. Activities relating to religious, cultural and art festivities which may cause a crowd to gather.
  3. Business activities which may cause a crowd to gather.
  4. Activities at a centralised labour quarters, employees’ hostel and dormitory which may cause a crowd to gather.
  5. Fitting of clothes, using fitting rooms in clothes stores, trying on fashion accessories in stores and providing cosmetic testers in stores.
  6. Services in barbershops and beauty salons.
  7. Filming movies, dramas, documentaries and advertisements.
  8. Cruise ship activities, tourism services, and services at accommodation premises under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 [Act 482].
  9. Installation and maintenance of machinery activities (lift, escalator, boiler and others) and tower crane at construction sites in groups which may cause a gathering.
  10. Theory and Practical Examinations for Shot-firer (Blasting) for mining and quarrying industry.
  11. Certification for agri commodities.
  12. Activities of financial services industry and banking, involving sales and marketing, not within the premises of financial institutions and banks, or in public places.
  13. Commercial activities involving sales and marketing not within business premises, or in public places, not including food business at food courts, hawker centres, food stalls, food trucks, and the like.

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