New softer rules for lockdown applies nationwide in Malaysia

MCO cheking in Malaysia. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4, 2020, Malay Mail. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today that Malaysia has currently moved to the fifth phase of the movement control order (MCO), a week before it was supposed to end on May 12, Malay Mail reported.

The current phase also called the conditional movement control order (CMCO), which comes with more relaxed rules, applies to the whole country from today onwards, he said.

Ismail Sabri explained that this new set of regulations made yesterday is now the one applicable in Malaysia, with the previous set of regulations made for the fourth phase of the MCO now revoked.

MCO laws continue to apply under CMCO

After more than six weeks of MCO in four phases that started from March 18 until May 3 (yesterday), Malaysia today kicked off its fifth phase of MCO or the CMCO where Ismail Sabri said many industries and businesses are now allowed to start operating, and for the police, Malaysian Armed Forces and other enforcement officers to shift their focus to enforcing compliance to standard operating procedures.

However, despite the fifth round of MCO being also labelled as CMCO, Ismail Sabri said that the main law applicable during the CMCO period was the same as other MCOs.

“The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) is still in force, many are confused as if the Act 342 is no longer in force. Because the MCO that we call as CMCO, CMCO is the same as other MCOs, so this Act continues to be in force.

“And the penalty under this Act is still the same, which is the penalty for breach of MCO is a compound not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisonment not more than six months, or both,” he said in a press conference broadcast “live” today.

“This means if an individual commits an offence under this Act, under the regulations, SOP under this Act, then the action that can be taken on them is RM1,000 compound or if they are brought to court, the court can impose a penalty of RM1,000 fine or six months’ jail or both,” he added, referring to the maximum penalties provided for under the regulations made under this Act.

“The status is the same, although the name is changed from MCO to CMCO,” he said.

MCO 5 regulations replaced MCO 4 regulations, just like previously

Previously, the federal government had always introduced a new set of regulations — made by the health minister via powers under Act 342 — to enforce the MCO each time it entered a new phase.

Each of these set of regulations would have a starting date and end date that matched when the new phase of MCO started and ended.

Today, Ismail Sabri explained that the fourth set of regulations applicable during the fourth phase of the MCO has been revoked, and replaced with the new set of regulations since the MCO has now entered a new phase or the fifth phase.

“Because of that, the regulations under MCO 4 that was gazetted before has been revoked, as we have gazetted new regulations under the CMCO.

“So if anyone says that ‘we still want to comply with the Act and regulations under MCO 4’, then that is wrong in law, because what is gazetted under MCO 4 has been revoked by itself because we have already replaced it with the new regulations under MCO 5.

“So that’s why I hope we don’t confuse this, because now the whole country including states and districts are subject to Act 342 and the regulations gazetted under MCO 5, so I hope we all realise this, and all rakyat (citizens) have to comply with the regulations and SOP under MCO 5,” Ismail Sabri said.

What the new regulations say

Ismail Sabri cited as example that the regulations under MCO 4 state that only a maximum of two persons are allowed in one vehicle, while the regulations under MCO 5 now allow a maximum of four in a car.

The new set of regulations for MCO 5 or CMCO however do not contain the federal government’s May 1 announcement regarding the types of businesses and activities that will now be allowed to operate from May 4, but does list out 13 categories of activities including businesses that will be prohibited from operating.

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