Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has declared a national state of emergency as a proactive measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The period of implementation for the darurat is until August 1, 2021, or until an earlier date if the number of daily positive cases can be controlled and lowered.

The decision was made after the Agong met with prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the national palace on Monday, and was announced by the latter today. In his speech, the prime minister confirmed that there would be no curfews enforced during the darurat period, and there will also be no elections of any sort.

He added that the government will continue to operate as usual, although there will be no parliamentary and state legislative assemblies held until a decided period. There will also be no army intervention except to assist healthcare workers in combatting the pandemic, and to man roadblocks alongside the police.

The declaration comes following yesterday’s announcement by the prime minister, which will see the reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO) for the states of Selangor, Johor, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from January 13 to January 26.

During the same two-week period, a conditional movement control order (CMCO) will be applied to Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan, while a recovery movement control order (RMCO) will be in place for the states of Perlis and Sarawak.

In terms of protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that we know of following yesterday’s announcement, they are as follows:

  • Inter-state travel across the entire country is prohibited
  • Inter-district travel is not permitted for states under the MCO
  • All social activities involving mass gatherings or sporting events are not permitted for states under the MCO
  • A 10-km radius limit for the purchase of food and necessities as well as for the seeking of healthcare and medical services will be reimplemented in MCO states
  • Only two people from the same household will be allowed to travel in a car when going out to shop for groceries or necessities
  • No in-place dining will be allowed in MCO states, with stalls and restaurants only permitted to do take-away and deliveries

As before, any individual caught violating MCO rules will be served with a RM1,000 fine, and there will be no discount once a compound notice has been issued.

The government said it had identified five economic sectors that will be permitted to remain operational during the MCO period, and these are manufacturing; construction; trade, logistics and distribution; plantation and commodities, as well as essential services.

It added that only 30% of management staff will be allowed to be in the workplace, while the number of supporting staff or workers on site at any one time will have to be determined by the organisation, with strict SOPs in place. As for the list of essential services, these will be detailed by the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) like previously.

We would like remind everyone to heed the government’s fight against the pandemic by just staying at home. If it is absolutely necessary for you to get provisions, medical supplies and food, please make it fast and limit the distance travelled for those purposes. There’s also no need to rush out to buy groceries and supplies, as you will still be able to shop for these during the MCO.

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