The Government of Malaysia imposed a second Movement Control Order (“MCO 2.0”) throughout Malaysia from 13 January 2021 to 26 January 2021 in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and break the chain of infections, whilst at the same time allowing the continuance of certain economic activities to mitigate the financial losses that would arise from a reduction of economic activities.

Unlike the first Movement Control Order (“MCO”) the restrictions under MCO 2.0 announced by Senior Minister (Finance and Economics) (also the Minister of International Trade and Industry), Dato’ Seri Mohd Azmin Ali, in a Media Release on 12 January 2021 (“Media Release”) apply only to the states and territories that are subject to the MCO, namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan, Johor, Penang, Sabah and Melaka. For the same period, the states of Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan have been placed under the less stringent conditional movement control order whilst Perlis and Sarawak have been placed under the recovery phase of the movement control order. This Alert deals only with MCO 2.0.

As in the first MCO, essential economic services registered with the relevant Ministry / Agency are allowed to continue operations. In contrast to the first MCO, there is now an expanded list of broadly five essential economic services, namely manufacturing, construction, services, trade distribution and plantation and commodities (“Essential Services List”) which in turn consists of 36 specific activities. The list of these activities is available here.

The salient points of MCO 2.0 General SOP issued on 12 January 2021 (and correct as at 12.00 noon on 15 January 2021) that affect economic activities can be summarised as follows (with additions from the Media Release):

  • Only 30% of employees in management are allowed to be in the office.
  • Employers are responsible for making category classifications to reduce the number of employees in the workplace to the permitted number.
  • Employees allowed to be at work according to the specified times are required to carry a copy of the notification provided by the employer together with the employee pass/ employer confirmation letter.
  • The number of support staff and employees directly involved in the production line will be determined by the respective employers, taking into account strict compliance with the MCO 2.0 General SOP.
  • The Work From Home (“WFH”) directive will apply for work that does not require physical attendance.
  • Restaurants, dining outlets, food trucks, roadside hawkers, mobile hawkers, food courts/ hawker centres, roadside stalls/ kiosks, grocery and convenience stores are allowed to operate between 6.00 am until 8.00 pm.
  • Supply and sale of food activities are only allowed through take-away, drive-through or delivery from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm.
  • Hospitals, clinics and medical laboratories may operate on a 24-hour basis or in accordance with their licence to operate.
  • Pharmacies and convenience stores may operate from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm.
  • Petrol stations may operate from 6.00 am to 10.00 pm except for petrol stations on highways which may operate on a 24-hour basis.
  • Day markets and wet markets may operate from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm.
  • Clinics and pet food stores may operate from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm.
  • All activities other than those listed in the Essential Services List are not allowed.

It should be noted that in addition to the MCO 2.0 General SOP, there are also separate MCO 2.0 SOPs that apply to the construction, higher education, manufacturing, hotel and accommodation, professional services and public transport sectors as well as for activities involving face-to-face interaction with customers, all issued on 13 January 2021.