Malaysia’s Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) took effect on Monday (4 May), which sees the federal government doing away with the 10km radius travel restriction and now allowing four family members living in the same household to travel in a single private vehicle at the same time.
Interstate travel, except for work or to return home from being stranded elsewhere, however, remains prohibited.
While more vehicles were seen on the streets of capital city Kuala Lumpur compared to the usual traffic since the start of the MCO in mid-March, no roadblocks were seen along Jalan Ampang today, TOC observed.
In contrast, TOC spotted two roadblocks on the same road last Thursday (30 April).
Head of Kuala Lumpur Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Zulkefly Yahya told Bernama today that the city’s police chief had instructed officers across the federal territory to end roadblocks and road closures.
Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador last Friday (1 May) told Bernama that the roadblocks will be moved to more “strategic positions” in light of the CMCO, including to inspect the entry of “undocumented migrants”.
Malay Mail today reported seeing a “significant reduction” in crowds and occupancy at major rail stations in the city centre.
Businesses cautiously reopen, patrons exhibit strict compliance with safe distancing measures
Close to the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, the grounds of KLCC Park — where residents and travellers alike often congregate even on weekdays — were nearly deserted at 11.20am today, save for two people on a morning walk, who seized the rare opportunity to take photographs in the absence of crowds.
Most entry points at the shopping centre’s premises were shut as at 11.20 am this morning.
Persons wishing to enter the shopping mall were required to do so through designated entrances such as the one below, which faces the KLCC Park.
Once inside, visitors are greeted with thermal scanners and bottles of hand sanitiser, manned by a staff member wearing gloves and a surgical mask.
The CMCO has allowed nearly all economic sectors and businesses, including certain non-essential ones, to resume operations. High-end brands’ stores were among the first to reopen.
Many other businesses, however, were set to open at noon or at a later date, according to notices put up on the doors of some of the outlets in Suria KLCC.
The majority of kiosks seen below were also closed, with few to no signs of resuming operations today despite the relaxed regulations.
Outlets operating essential services in the shopping mall, such as Pos Malaysia — the national courier — and Maybank, continued to implement strict safe distancing measures.
Barriers and signs indicating that only four people are permitted to enter the post office at a single time were erected to prevent overcrowding.
Black tape was used to mark lines between patrons queuing up at Maybank.
At La Cucur, a food outlet selling traditional Malay delicacies, customers are required to observe similar safe distancing measures.
Prior to entering the shop, patrons are required to leave their particulars such as their name, IC number, and residential address in a logbook for contact tracing purposes, in line with the new CMCO regulations.
Staff members will also conduct temperature scanning before allowing customers to enter the outlet. Patrons are also free to peruse hand sanitiser provided at entry.
La Cucur, typically one of the most heavily frequented food and beverage outlets in Suria KLCC, was also nearly empty today, except for one or two people who had purchased food for takeaway.
Coupled with the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the restrictions imposed under the MCO and a general fear of the coronavirus has somewhat put a damper on the business, forcing the outlet to pare down the size and scale of its usual offerings, according to an employee.
Federal govt decision to implement CMCO raises concerns among public, state govts
The relaxed regulations under CMCO have sparked worry and concern among members of the public and even state governments.
A petition on change.org, which was started by a user called “Rakyat Malaysia Prihatin” or “Concerned Malaysian Citizen” three days ago, called upon the federal government to continue with the original MCO — which was scheduled to end on 12 May — and to cancel the implementation of the CMCO.
“We do not want Malaysia to replicate the errors of the governments of other nations that have relaxed or even lifted their restricted movement orders or lockdowns. We do not our frontline workers to be exhausted again. We do not want the government to bow to capitalists who merely prioritise their profits without consideration for the health and welfare of workers,” the petition’s statement read.
The petition has garnered over 475,000 signatories as at press time.
Senior Minister of Defence and Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a daily briefing in Putrajaya said today that the reopening of businesses during the CMCO is still subject to standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He warned that business owners who fail to abide by the SOPs with may face a fine or a jail term, on top of being ordered to cease their business operations, in line with the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
Those found guilty of flouting the order may be punished with a maximum fine of RM1,000 or a maximum jail term of six months or both.
Authorities such as police and the military will also focus on enforcing SOP compliance across economic sectors that have been allowed to resume operations, he added.
Commenting on the reluctance of several state governments to implement the new relaxed measures under CMCO, Ismail Sabri said in his daily briefing on Sunday (3 May) that the prime minister and the chief ministers of states have agreed — in a National Security Council’s meeting last week — that state governments “can alter the SOP according to their own conditions within the scope given”.
Fearing new waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, the governments of states such as Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Penang, Sarawak and Sabah have decided to either delay or impose their own variation of the CMCO measures.
Selangor — which surrounds the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur — for example, will uphold the ban on dine-in services in restaurants, and will only permit businesses to cater to takeaway orders.
Constitutional law expert Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood told Sinar Harian that the federal government cannot compel state governments to implement the new measures under CMCO, as all economic activities pertaining to business management or store operations are under the jurisdiction of the latter.
“Anything related to activities within the state, including business operations, assessment tax, and entertainment tax are under the purvey of state government laws,” he said.
Lawyer Keppy Wong told The Edge Markets that while state governments have power over business operations and opening of shops, “the federal government still retains exclusive power in other aspects such as in relation to controlling the movement of people, transport, curfew, travelling, and others”.
Under the CMCO, several businesses are still prohibited from being reopened, such as cinemas, karaoke centres, reflexology centres, entertainment centres, night clubs, theme parks, Ramadan bazaars, Aidilfitri bazaars, and shopping carnivals.
Large social gatherings, including those for breaking fast and communal prayers, are also not allowed under the conditional order.