In the effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection in Malaysia, the government have announced a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) in 18th March 2020. Since then, different types of movement control orders have been implemented depending on the situation of infection within the country.
MCO, CMCO, RMCO, EMCO….Are you confused with all the different types of movement control orders? Let Sunway Travel summarise 6 types of movement control orders below.
More commonly known as ‘nationwide lockdown’, this MCO was implemented from 18th March to 3rd May 2020. The immediate goal was to break the COVID-19 infection link, thus social and physical contact had to be minimised.
Under MCO, only essential services including food supplies and services, pharmacies, medical and healthcare institutions, petrol stations, hypermarket and grocery stores, were allowed to operate. Industries that are not listed under essential services were ordered to close. Although restaurants and food services were allowed to open, its operations were strictly limited to takeaways and deliveries only; dine-in was not allowed.
Interstate and inter-district travel were strictly prohibited, except for essential workers, food or essential grocery shopping and in cases of emergency. All tourism, cultural, religious or social activities that involve the gathering of large crowds were strictly prohibited, evening curfew was set at 10pm, public were ordered to stay home, and only the head of the family was allowed to leave home for essential shopping.
The MCO period was implemented in 4 phases with differing levels of restrictions as the number of infections nationwide slowly decreased.
CMCO was implemented from 4th May to 9th June 2020, with a relaxation of regulations from the MCO phases. Its main goal was to reopen and ‘recover’ the national economy in a controlled and conditional manner.
As its namesake, most economic sectors were allowed to open, and the public’s movement were more relaxed, subjected to specific conditions. Two persons from each household are allowed to leave the home, though activities or operations that require mass gathering in enclosed spaces, such as theatres, schools, gyms, beauty and hair salons, religious activities, weddings, conferences, were still not allowed.
Interstate and inter-district travel were still prohibited, and any work or emergency travelling required a written letter from employer or the relevant authorities. Dining-in regulations were relaxed as well, and 2 persons per table is allowed, yet still not encouraged for high-risk groups. The public were continually urged to utilise contactless payment, takeaway, delivery and drive-thru services to ensure minimise social and physical contact contamination.
However, for the latest implementation of CMCO in Sabah (13th – 26th Oct 2020), Selangor, KL and Putrajaya (14th – 27th Oct 2020), students who are sitting for international examinations are allowed to travel, with a written letter from respective educational institutions required.
We are currently under the RMCO phase. RMCO has been implemented starting from 10th June to 31st Dec 2020, with the objective to gradually reopen and ‘recover’ the economic and social sectors of the country.
Under RMCO, interstate and inter-district travel have resumed. All sectors are now allowed to open, subjected to strict standard order procedures and measures. Sectors that are allowed to reopen under RMCO include theatres, education, religious, social and cultural activities, with the exception of nightclubs that are still not allowed to open.
Although Malaysia’s international borders are still closed to foreign travellers, certain group of travellers can travel into and out of Malaysia under specific conditions – for work, study, or medical purposes – subjected to the necessary passes and approval from relevant authorities. Those who have entered Malaysia (locals and foreigners) are also required to undergo COVID-19 testing and mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
EMCO is the strictest movement control order, and is akin to a ’total lockdown’ to lock down specific localities that have been identified as high risk. All activities are ceased during the implementation of the order, and no movement in and out of the EMCO areas are allowed during the EMCO period.
Residents at the affected EMCO areas are not allowed to leave their homes, except for emergency purposes, and food items will be sent to them by the respective authorities. All residents within the EMCO are also subjected to compulsory COVID-19 testing by the government.
In April 2020, EMCO was imposed in Simpang Renggam, a district in Johor where an infection cluster had affected hundreds of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
TEMCO is a subtype of EMCO that applies to a much smaller space instead of entire districts or areas. It involves locking down individual residential complexes or an office building with tighter restrictions.
Similar to the EMCO, residents of the affected premise are ordered mandatory quarantine at home, while only the head of the family is allowed to leave the house to buy food our essential grocery items. All social activities within that targeted premise are prohibited, and screening tests are also compulsory for all residents.
A prison in Alor Setar, Kedah, where a new cluster that contributed to a third of the recent wave of confirmed COVID-19 cases, was one of the latest to be locked down under TEMCO.
AEMCO is another subtype of EMCO that applies to specific high-risk areas, but with fewer restrictions. Residents in these areas are allowed to travel within and beyond the affected area, subjected to clearance by the officials stationed there. Similar to EMCO areas, compulsory COVID-19 screening and testing applies to all residents. Different from the EMCO order, all food and essential services in the AEMCO area can operate as usual.
We hope the above cleared some of your doubts regarding the 6 types of movement control orders. Depending on the specific situation in specific areas, these guidelines might be adjusted as the government sees fit. We urge all the public to constantly stay tuned to official news portals and social media platforms for the latest SOPs.
Do note that all movement orders are officially gazetted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and Police Act 1967, so anyone who is caught flouting the Order, may be fined, jailed, or both, by the authorities.
This article is intended to convey general information only. It does not constitute advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation.
Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent professional advice for your specific needs and situation.