KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 – The Movement Control Order (MCO), which is due to end on April 28, has been extended by another two weeks until May 12, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In announcing this tonight, Muhyiddin, however, said if COVID-19 cases continued to show a sharp decrease, the government might ease the restrictions in stages.
“Based on the latest statistics, the number of recovered patients has risen to 3,542, which means 63.2 per cent of the cumulative number of patients have recovered.
“If this downward trend in (active) cases continues, the government may give some relaxation,” he said in his address which was aired live on national television.
This is the third time the MCO, which was implemented on March 18, has been extended in the government’s efforts to break the COVID-19 chain of infection in Malaysia.
Muhyiddin said following the sharp drop in COVID-19 cases, the government planned to relax the regulations a bit, including allowing university students staying on campus to return to their homes, and for this a standard operating procedure (SOP) would be announced soon.
“The number of students involved is big, that is almost 100,000. So we need to plan their movement carefully to ensure it is organised and does not create risks of infection,” he added.
He said the authorities would ensure that all the students were healthy and did not have any COVID-19 symptoms before allowing them to travel.
The prime minister said the government was considering to allow a single-trip journey for those who were stuck in their hometowns or other places before phase one of the MCO was enforced.
Muhyiddin said the government was gathering data and looking into the best way to facilitate their journey, including requiring them to register online using a Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) application or making an appointment with the nearest police station.
“It is important for the police to arrange your journey to avoid creating congestion on the road or rest areas of highways. You also need to ensure that you are healthy and do not have any symptoms before starting your journey,” Muhyiddin said.
He said the details of this plan would be announced by the government soon.
“This comprises a little bit of relaxation which can be granted at this stage. I repeat, just a bit of relaxation. Not too much. These two measures will be implemented in an orderly manner and will not affect our efforts to fight COVID-19,” he said.
He stressed that efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 should be continued based on data presented to him by the Ministry of Health.
“Although the numbers show a positive development, the steps we have taken should be continued until such time when we are confident that the COVID-19 outbreak can be fully contained,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the government would study the latest data presented by the Health Ministry to decide the next course of action.
“I do not rule out the possibility of the MCO being extended again after this. This means you all may not be able to celebrate Hari Raya in the kampung.
“You still may not be able to work, except for those working in sectors which are allowed (to operate). Businesses too still cannot operate fully,” he said.
However, if COVID-19 cases continued to register a marked decrease, the government might ease the movement control in stages in several sectors, including the social sector, he said.
He said this would enable them to lead a more comfortable life, adding that the National Security Council was drawing up a comprehensive plan on this matter.