01 Jun 2021 by Kathryn Hoh

Malaysia in Lockdown – What You Need to Know

Malaysia is experiencing a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases with over 8,000 cases per day recently, and with over 70,000 active cases nationwide.

‘Total lockdown’

Amidst a third wave of COVID-19, Malaysia is under its third round of movement control order (MCO 3.0) since 12 May 2021. In view of the new variant of COVID-19 and a sharp increase in confirmed cases, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that first phase of nationwide ‘total lockdown’ MCO 3.0 will be imposed during 1-14 June 2021.

Cross-district and interstate travel, as well as social, sports and educational activities, is banned. A latest change by the government into the hour of ‘total Lockdown’ allows businesses to apply for exemption from the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI). According to the National Security Council (NSC), MITI will now serve as the one-stop centre to issue exemption letters to allow businesses to operate during the total lockdown period, with the exemption to 17 sectors listed below:

  1. Food and beverage (F&B)
  2. Healthcare and medicine services
  3. Animal clinics and veterinary
  4. Water
  5. Energy
  6. Security and defence
  7. Waste management; public cleaning and sewerage
  8. Transportation by land, water or air
  9. Services and operations of ports, shipyards and airports, including loading, lattice transportation, cargo handling and piloting, and storage or bulk commodity
  10. Communications including media, telecommunications and Internet services
  11. Banking, insurance, takaful, capital markets
  12. Community credit (mortgage only), pawnshops
  13. E-Commerce
  14. Fuel and lubricants
  15. Hotel for quarantine purposes only (not for tourism)
  16. Construction and critical infrastructure works
  17. Forestry

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob outlined standard operating procedures (SOP) for the total lockdown which mostly resemble the previous lockdown in March 2020. It is said that 80% of government staff and 40% of the private sector will work from home. Correspondingly, passenger capacity of public transport such as buses and LRT will also be halved. Government services over the counter are only available if they cannot be done online, with “any form of exchanges conducted through an appointment-only basis”.

Manufacturing and related services sectors are allowed to operate at a 60% maximum workforce capacity. Essentials services such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, food outlets, and basic necessities are allowed to operate from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

Accordingly, only two persons per household are allowed to leave the house for essential goods shopping, with the exception of a third person for the taxi or e-hailing vehicle (including the driver) or for the purpose of buying medicine and emergency reasons, and the  travel must be within 10 km radius only. Individual non-contact sports (e.g. 2-3 metres socially distanced jogging and aerobics) are allowed up to 8:00pm. Any businesses considered as essential services, including those in malls, may open from 8:00am to 8:00pm. Prayers at places of worship are limited to 12 people only and public transportation will function at 50% capacity.

If necessary, a second phase of lockdown lasting four weeks may be implemented after the end of the first phase, followed by a possible third phase. This decision will be subject to a risk assessment by the Ministry of Health, with regard to the daily number of cases as well as hospital capacity as COVID-19 cases are projected to hit 13,000 in June 2021.

Who may enter the country

Malaysian nationals abroad, Diplomatic passport holders, MyTravelPass holders, international students (with written approval from the Immigration Department) are now permitted to enter Malaysia without prior approval of the Immigration Department or required to submit the letter of undertaking (LOU) to the Consulate-General prior to travel to Malaysia, or obtain the Travel Clearance Letter from the Consulate-General either. However, as each different national is subject to different requirements, travellers are advised to check the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia for updated announcements before travel.

The following categories of travellers may apply via the MyTravelPass Online Application System for entry into Malaysia, with a processing time of around 5-10 working days:

  1. Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) (Malaysia-Singapore only)
  2. Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) (Malaysia-Singapore only)
  3. Death / Critically Ill Emergency Visits
  4. Spouse of Malaysian national / Spouse of Malaysian Permanent Resident / Residence Pass / Children of Malaysian national / Children of Malaysian Permanent Resident / Senior Citizen Pass Holder / Divorcee / Widow of Citizen
  5. Malaysians to exit Malaysia (those who do not hold long term passes or are not residents of the destination country)
  6. Foreigners and Permanent Residents to enter Malaysia
  7. Foreign Workers and Foreign Domestic Helpers to enter Malaysia
  8. Expatriates (via MyEntry) to enter Malaysia
  9. Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Pass Holders to enter Malaysia
  10. Higher Education Institutions
  11. International / Private / Government School
  12. Professional Visit Pass Holder

For business travellers seeking to enter Malaysia, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) manages the One Stop Centre (OSC) to provide entry permission approval for short-term (14 days and shorter) and long-term (more than 14 days) stays during the MCO.

Arrangements for travellers

The travelling requirement to Malaysia that travellers shall submit an LOU via email to the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission before traveling into the country has not changed. It is also required that within 72 hours prior to departure to Malaysia, travellers must undertake a RT-PCR COVID-19 test (nasopharyngeal swab test). The negative test result shall be presented upon arrival in Malaysia. Travellers will then be subject to another RT-PCR COVID-19 test at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or other relevant international entry points.

Vaccination is not compulsory for entry into Malaysia as of now. However, all travellers, Malaysian and non-Malaysian, vaccinated and unvaccinated, must undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days at government-designated quarantine hotels. Another RT-PCR Covid-19 test will be conducted on the 10th day of quarantine. If tested negative, travellers will be released from quarantine on the 14th day.

COVID-19 screening test charges and quarantine costs may be paid online. Quarantine charges are at RM150 per day for government-designated standard hotels. Alternatively, travellers may pay extra and choose from a list of 12 premium hotels in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur.

Travellers are required to download and activate MySejahtera, a government-developed contact tracing app before departure to Malaysia.

Updates to trade events

Most expo events in Malaysia scheduled for May and June 2021 have been postponed. Two July events, LogisWare Malaysia 2021 and Malaysian International Food & Beverage Trade Fair (MIFB 2021) will not be held this year. Another two are postponed to a later date within this year, while others are expected to take place as scheduled.

Updated information can be found on the Facebook page of the Consulate-General of Malaysia.

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