Malaysia has started easing some of the measures imposed to fight COVID-19 today, 4 May, restarting its economy. In line with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement three days ago, the country has now gone into “conditional movement control order” (CMCO).
The implementation of CMCO edges Malaysia back towards normalcy, where almost all businesses and economic sectors are allowed to reopen, provided some strict restrictions are observed.
The government has asked employers to encourage working from home and to adopt flexible working hours. Employees that must report to the office must maintain social distancing. As schools and day care centres remain shut, employers have been requested to allow employees with children to come into the office on alternate days.
Restaurants and cafes must log all customers’ names and keep tables two metres apart. Outdoor sports activities where body contact is not involved are now permitted, such as golf, cycling and running.
All sorts of social, cultural and religious gatherings that draw huge crowds remain banned.
Malaysians are expected to wear face masks and bring hand sanitisers whenever they are outside, especially when on public transport. CMCO allows inter-state travel, but only for those who are doing so for work purposes and for those stranded elsewhere prior to the easing of restrictions.
The transition into CMCO has happened earlier a week than expected. The movement control order (MCO) previously in effect was supposed to last until 12 May. The Malaysian government attributed the early transition to the “sacrifices made” during the lockdown, which has cost the country $552 million (MYR 2.4 billion) in daily losses since March. Muhyiddin said that these sacrifices “were not in vain” and have been effective in slowing down the infection rate.