Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced in a special address on May 10 that Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO) will be extended for the fourth time, with the new end date set to be June 9.
Previous increments of the MCO were at two weeks each time, with this fourth extension set to be longest at an additional four weeks.
The announcement comes just two days shy of the previously announced end date of the MCO, which is currently under loosened restrictions under the conditional MCO. The conditional MCO was imposed on May 4 to allow most business sectors to reopen.
The decision to extend the MCO further was under the advisory of the Ministry of Health (MoH), and the National Security Council (NSC), said Muhyiddin.
Extended MCO During Hari Raya Period
As the Malay Mail reports, Muhyiddin stressed that the extension of the MCO entails the prohibition of mass movements and interstate travel, despite major festivals such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri falling within this period.
In the address which was live-streamed across several platforms, Muhyiddin acknowledged the implications of extending the MCO during the current holy month. He expresses his sympathy for those who are sad that they are unable to return to their hometowns to celebrate Hari Raya with their families but assures them that they will be able to do so once the situation improves.
He clarified, however, that visiting family members and close neighbours will be permitted during the extended MCO, provided that they live within the same state and gatherings do not exceed 20 persons at a time.
Muhyiddin further stated that spouses not living within the same state would be allowed to travel, in consideration of spouses who are unable to meet due to work commitments. Those who wish to apply for such considerations may apply using the Gerak Malaysia application, or directly to their nearest police station.
However, he reminded citizens to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) even under the relaxed restrictions.
He further stated that the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) was re-evaluating its SOP for mass prayers in mosques, including prayers for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The Prime Minister also stated that the SOP for other places of worship, such as churches and temples, is being created.
The COVID-19 Situation In Malaysia
As of today (May 12), a total of 6,726 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Malaysia. 5,113 of these cases have recovered, however, with only 1,613 cases remaining active. A total of 109 deaths have also been recorded.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that most districts in Malaysia have now been classed as green zones, districts with no active COVID-19 cases, but stressed the importance of remaining vigilant.
He stated that the next few weeks are critical, as the results of the CMCO implementation can only be seen in a few weeks’ time.