Coronavirus: Malaysia govt issues FAQs on decision to restrict movement nationwide

A woman wearing a protective mask, gloves and goggles, arrives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 17, 2020.
A woman wearing a protective mask, gloves and goggles, arrives at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 17, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's National Security Council (NSC) on Tuesday (March 17) released a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the government's Movement Control Order between Wednesday, March 18, to March 31, in its bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The NSC, a federal agency under the Prime Minister's Department, is coordinating Malaysia's response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The FAQs were released amid a myriad of questions asked by the public to clarify the government's announcement that will restrict movements nationwide for 14 days, from Wednesday.

There are six basic restrictions, the council said in a statement.

These are:

- Banning all mass gatherings, including activities linked to religion, sports and social events.

- Banning all Malaysians from traveling abroad.

- Restrictions on foreigners allowed into the country.

- Shutting down all daycare centres, and primary, secondary and pre-university schools.

- Shutting down all higher educational institutions and vocational schools.

- Shutting down all government and private premises, except those providing essential services.

Here are the FAQs.

Q: Are celebratory events, wedding receptions and similar functions allowed?

A: Weddings can be held but without mass attendance. Wedding receptions and similar events should be postponed until the spread of the virus has ended.

Q: Is there a fixed time period when the order is enforced between March 18 and March 31?

A: No. The order is enforced throughout the day during the said period.

Q: If my essential supplies run out, can I go out to buy things and then go back?

A: Yes.

Q: I am a Malaysian citizen and my husband is a UK citizen. Are we allowed to return to Malaysia during this period?

A: Yes, provided your partner can prove the legitimacy of the marriage, whether it is registered with the Malaysian government or the government of the originating country. The partner must go through health screening and self-quarantine.

Q: My child is a student at an overseas institution. Is the student allowed to return to Malaysia?

A: Yes. Malaysian citizens abroad are allowed to return during this period. But the person must go through health screening and voluntary self-quarantine.

Q: I am a long-term visa holder in Malaysia and I returned to my home country before this order was issued. Am I allowed to return to Malaysia for work during this period?

A: Only migrants working in essential services are allowed to return to Malaysia during this period. The migrant must obtain a confirmation letter from his or her employers to be produced to the Immigration Department at the point of entry.

Q: I work in Singapore. Am I allowed to commute to my office in Singapore?

A: No. The order applies to all individuals in this country. All individuals who work in neighbouring countries but live in Malaysia are not allowed to travel during the period and should inform their employers.

Q: I have made plans to go on a domestic holiday and have made the necessary payments. Can I continue with my holiday?

A: Under the restriction order, the public is prohibited from going anywhere, including to holiday destinations, for social activities, and if the visit is not related to important national service. You are advised not to proceed with your holiday.

Q: Can I drive to the airport to fetch someone who has returned from abroad, and that person is working in a sector which provides essential services?

A: Going to a place for a short while is allowed under the order.

Q: Would schools have to replace suspended classes?

A: No.

Q: Do all public and private institutes of higher learning and training centres come under the order?

A: Yes.

Q: What about students staying in hostels provided by their institutions, especially foreign students?

A: All students are required to stay in their residences during the order period.

Foreign students are advised to return to their home countries during this period. If they do so, they are not allowed to return while the order is enforced.

Foreign students who decide to stay in Malaysia must report to the management of their institutions and adhere to the order.

Q: Can fast food outlets, restaurants or hawker centres continue to operate?

A: Yes. However, they are only allowed to facilitate takeout orders or food delivery orders.

Q: Will public transport networks still operate?

A: Yes.

Q: I've paid for my hotel stay before the order was imposed. Can I ask for a refund?

A: The public is encouraged to discuss the matter with the hotel.

Q: Are solat jenazah (mass Muslim prayers conducted before a dead person is buried), and tahlil prayers (mass prayers conducted in homes afterwards) allowed?

A: Yes, for solat jenazah only. This must be conducted by close family members and mosque congregation.