The Malaysian government has learned the hard way that keeping promises in a global pandemic is a lot harder than it seems.
January 26: “There will be no nationwide MCO.”
April 15: “There will be no nationwide MCO.”
May 8: “There will be no nationwide MCO.”
May 10: “Yeah, there’s going to be a nationwide MCO.”
After several days of piecemealing together a motley patchwork of MCO-affected areas in Malaysia, today, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made it easier on everyone and said the whole country would be placed under MCO beginning on Wednesday, May 12.
“Based on the increasing trend of daily Covid-19 cases, the government has decided to take more drastic and stringent measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections in the community and prevent a sharp increase in cases,” Muhyiddin said, adding that the decision was made today during a special conference of the National Security Council on the management of Covid-19.
Muhyiddin also said that all Hari Raya visitations would now be prohibited, news that’s sure to be poorly received, but hopefully understood by most. The Hari Raya holiday period begins on Thursday, May 13.
Under the nationwide MCO 3.0, all educational institutions will be closed — with exemptions given only to those with students who are sitting for international exams — and all social visitations and sports and recreational activities are banned (except those in open areas like jogging, cycling, and exercising with physical distancing observed). Also prohibited are inter-district and interstate travels, with certain exceptions.
However, as all economic sectors in the country will remain open, MCO 3.0 won’t be anything like MCO 1.0.
The new list of prohibited activities will be in place from May 12. Following the announcement, however, no immediate information was made available on this point, as seems to be the custom, so expect the next few days to serve up a fresh new list of SOPs, assorted restrictions, and — if the past is any indication — confusing and occasionally conflicting statements.
“The chain of Covid-19 infection can only be broken by encouraging people to stay at home through tighter movement control,” Muhyiddin explained, omitting his views on how useful this might be with no controls on economic movement.
This latest MCO will be enforced until June 7.
This article will be updated with new information as it become available.
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