Tuesday 17 March 2020
Keep calm, don't panic, sanitise, repeat. Photo: Soon Lau

[This article will be updated accordingly to the latest developments surrounding the issue. Scroll below for updates.]


It’s official: Malaysia is imposing a ‘Movement Control Order’ to manage and control the widespread of COVID-19 in the nation.

On 16 March 2020 at 10.30pm, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin publicly declared a restriction of movement throughout Malaysia, effectively from 18 March 2020 until 31 March 2020.

#COVIDー19 Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan di seluruh negara berkuatkuasa 18 Mac ini. – YAB Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

— KKMPutrajaya (@KKMPutrajaya) March 16, 2020

Rather than a lockdown where everything from transport to businesses come to a standstill, the aim of the Movement Control Order is to – as per its name – minimise movement in the nation.

Under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967, the Order essentially dictates that:

1) All forms of gathering and movement are not allowed nationwide during the period. This includes religious, sports, social and cultural events.

2) Education institutes will also be closed, including kindergartens, government and private schools. This also includes institutions of higher learning and private training centres throughout the country.

3) The restriction also includes travel ban to overseas. As for travellers who are returning home, they are required to undergo health checks and self-quarantine for 14 days. Malaysia will also close its borders to all tourist and foreigners during the period.

4) The good news, however, is that places that provide necessities will still be operational. This means supermarkets, markets, grocery shops and shops that sell daily necessities will still be open, so there is no need for panic buying. Restaurants will not be open for dine in but may provide food delivery, meaning food can still be ordered via Grab Food, Foodpanda and others.


5) Lastly, while most government and private premises must be closed, there are certain exceptions. Essential service providers such as water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, post, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, lubrication, broadcast, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire and rescue, prison, ports, airports, security, defence, cleaning, retail and food supplies are still in operation.

The decision was clearly not an easy one as it would clearly impact social and economic activities. However, it is necessary to curb the widespread of the novel Coronavirus.

The Premier asks all Malaysians to have faith in the latest measures to ensure that the nation can control the spread in the shortest time possible. He assures there are sufficient food supplies, daily essentials, as well as face masks in the country. And above all, we should keep calm and don’t panic.

Note from our Editor In Chief:

We had planned to do a pretty issue for March, seeing as it was nearing the time of our anniversary. But that soon changed in late January.

As a magazine, I felt that to stay as current as possible, we would print as late as possible. The Internet is to surf, print is for immersion – and we always wanted to capture the depth and bigger arc of some of the bigger stories that dominate our time. Moreover, our pillars are culture, current affairs and life. And what happens in the world obviously affects how we live. There is no lifestyle without Life. As much as we are touted as a premium magazine, I didn’t want us to to live in this 1% bubble of escaping into consumerism when things got real. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our economies, the way we live, the way we plan the next few months, I felt we had to push everything else aside to give COVID-19 the space it requires to enable us to make intelligent decisions in these tough times.

By late January, we realised we had to do a story on what was then the Corona Virus. We worked with Dr. Amira Jamil to give us the bare scientific facts, but also looked at the greater impact the virus was having on the economy.

As we went to print late to cover the story for March, the events of the last two weeks have really scaled up to a level beyond our belief.

The facts as stated here are still relevant but do stay with us online as we give you the latest corroborated facts on COVID-19.

But as our cover states, “Keep Calm and Don’t Panic” is the word. It is in the hardest times, that civilisation must be determined to remain civilised.

For any inquiries regarding the Movement Control Order, you can contact the National Operations Management Center at hotline 03-88882010 starting from noon on 17 March 2020.

UPDATE: 25 March 2020

The MCO will be extended for two more weeks, until 14 April 2020.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin comments that the extension was announced in advance so that preparations could be made. However, there is no need to panic.

“Even though we have extended the MCO, you don’t have to unnecessarily stock up on food because the supply is enough,” says the PM, adding that there is “definitely enough food for everybody.” So, really, there is no need to go on a panic buying spree.

To add, the government acknowledges that this Order has burdened the people. However, the move is unavoidable as the public’s safety and containment of the virus is of topmost priority. To lighten the load caused by the MCO, a comprehensive economic stimulus package will be announced soon.

Source: The Star