The Malaysian government has tightened its movement control order (MCO) as cases reach all-time highs.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that 80 percent of government staff and 40 percent of the private sector will work from home. this will involve 750,000 government staff and about 6.1 million private-sector workers.

Unlike the first round of MCO implemented in March 2020, more businesses are allowed to open. However, their operating times will be shortened from 8am to 8pm starting 25 May. Public transport capacity will also be halved, said Ismail.

Ismail also reminded employers and business operators to make it compulsory for employees and visitors alike to check-in to their business premises. “They must also ensure and reduce the number of people visiting the premises such as shops and shopping malls,” he said.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has said that its members were relieved that no full lockdown was imposed.

“The rising number of COVID-19 infections is a cause for serious concern and the government has decided wisely in terms of striking this delicate balance between the saving of lives and saving livelihoods.

“The decision not to implement a full lockdown would allow employers to continue to resuscitate their businesses during this very challenging period, and pave the way for a full economic recovery.

“The safety and health of the people is sacred and must be prioritised,” MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said in a statement today.

Elsewhere in the region, Singapore tightened its rules on 16 May to limit social gatherings to just two people, halt all dining in at eateries and get employees to work from home.

In Taiwan, all schools are closed island-wide. Gyms and pools are closed in Taipei, and gatherings of more than five people indoors and more than 10 people outdoors are banned.


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