What you need to know about the Movement Control Order


Malaysia has declared the Movement Control Order effective March 18 to 31 nationwide to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) yesterday, this is the first time in history that Malaysia has enforced such an order.

It is premised on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

Directives under the Movement Control Order:

i. A comprehensive prohibition of mass movements and gatherings including religious, sports, social and cultural activities;

ii. A total restriction on all Malaysians travelling abroad. Those returning from abroad are required to undergo a health check and undergo self-quarantine for 14 days;

iii. Restriction on the entry of all foreign tourists and visitors into the country;

iv. Closing of all child care centres (Taska), government and private schools and other primary, secondary and pre-university institutions;

v. Closing of all Public and Private Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTs) and Skills Training Institutes nationwide; and

vi. Closing of all government and private premises except those involved in essential services.


The following are some of the frequently asked questions released by the National Security Council (NSC) as of 4.10 pm (March 17, 2020):

1. Is it possible to have celebrations/weddings/’kenduri’ (feasts) or something like that?

 Any reception is not allowed.

2. Does the Movement Control Order have a specific enforcement time duration from March 18 – 31 2020?

This order is effective at all times throughout the day during the period.

3. If I run out of an essential item, is it possible to go out and buy it?


4. I am a Malaysian and my husband is a UK citizen. Are we allowed to return to Malaysia during this period?

Yes. Provided your partner can prove the validity of the marriage either registered with the Government of Malaysia or the Government of the country of origin. Your partner would need to go through health screening and self-quarantine to reduce the likelihood of infection or spreading the infection to others.

5. My son/daughter is a student at an overseas institution. Is he/she allowed to return to Malaysia?

Yes. Any Malaysian who is overseas can return home during this period. However, the individual must go through health screening and self-quarantine to reduce the risk of infection or to spread the infection to others.

6. I am a long-term pass holder in Malaysia and have returned to my home country before the Order was issued. Am I allowed to return to Malaysia for work purposes during this restriction period?

Only foreign migrants working in the country’s essential services sector are allowed to return to Malaysia during this period. The foreign migrants must obtain a letter of confirmation from their respective employers and it must be produced before the Malaysian Immigration when they arrive here.

7. I work in Singapore. Am I allowed to commute to my office in Singapore?

No. The Movement Control Order applies to all individuals within the country. In this regard, on the basis of community safety, any person who works in a neighbouring country but resides in Malaysia is not allowed to commute on a daily basis and is urged to inform this matter to his or her employer.

8. I have made plans for a holiday within Malaysia and have made payment. Can I still go on my vacation?

Under the Movement Control Order, the public is prohibited to go anywhere including resorts for social activities, and if the visit does not involve matters of national importance. You are advised not to proceed with your vacation.

9. Can I drive to the airport to pick up a friend who has just returned from abroad or someone working in a sector that provides essential services?

Going to a place for a short while is allowed under the Movement Control Order

10. Do schools need to replace the suspended classes?


11. Are all classes and activities involving students of public and private IPTs and Skills Training Institutes subject to the Movement Control Order?


12. What about students staying in hostels of public and private IPTs, especially foreign students?

All students of public and private IPTs should return to their respective homes throughout the duration of the Movement Control Order. Foreign students are advised to return to their home country during this period. Students returning to their home countries are not allowed to return to Malaysia as long as the Movement Control Order is in force. Foreign students who decide to remain in the country and stay at the hostels must report to the management of the respective IPTs and are also subject to the order.

13. Can fast food outlets, restaurants or hawker centres remain open?

Food outlets can continue to operate but only for take-away or delivery services by specific companies such as Grab Food or Food Panda.

14. Can public transport such as buses, LRT, MRT, KTM continue to operate?

All public transport services shall continue throughout the duration of the Order.

15. I had paid for my stay at a hotel before the Movement Control Order was announced. Can I get a refund?

Members of the public are encouraged to speak directly with the hotel in the matter of a refund for a booking made prior to the Order being announced.

16. In the event of a death at home (not a COVID-19 patient), are ‘solat jenazah’ and ‘tahlil’ allowed?

Yes, for solat jenazah only, and this must be conducted only by close family members and mosque/surau congregation.