Seminars, conferences of up to 250 persons allowed

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ graphic by MZUKRI

THE temporary ban on all conferences and seminars has been lifted with gatherings of up to 250 people now allowed to take place, subjected to standard safety and health requirements.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his press conference yesterday said the number of participants will depend on the capacity of the venue.

Social distancing has been made mandatory, with the wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitisers highly recommended.

Participants will also be required to register and sign in on the MySejahtera government app for contact tracing.

Ismail Sabri said the directive will apply to all business gatherings, including courses and workshops organised by the government and private sectors.

To minimise transmission risks, organisers can only arrange for packed food, the minister said, adding that these gatherings are only permitted at green zones.

The government has also given the go-ahead for physical interviews at ministries, government agencies and private firms. However, a standard guideline is still in the works and will be released after it has been vetted by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.

The move marks the latest effort by the government to ease curbs on movement as the number of new coronavirus cases in the country has been contained to double digits for much of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period, which began in May.

Malaysia has so far reported over 8,500 confirmed cases with about 120 deaths. Ismail Sabri also said the government will decide whether to allow international students at local institutes to return to Malaysia for their studies.

“Many appeals have been made. We will decide on this in our meeting and we hope to announce the decision tomorrow,” he said.

International students are allowed to return to their respective countries but are prohibited from returning to Malaysia during the MCO or at any time specified by authorities.

Those who remain in Malaysia are required to stay at campus residences. It is estimated that over 600,000 students are studying at local higher learning institutions, with international students making up about 15% of the total, according to state-linked company Education Malaysia Global Services.

The government has sent more than 50,000 local students stranded on campus back home since the end of April.

The monumental effort required partnerships between the ministry, universities, colleges, the police, bus operators and flag carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd.