Malaysia's government has extended the country's Movement Control Order (MCO) for an additional two weeks, lasting from Wednesday, 15 April to Tuesday, 28 April.

This step will give healthcare workers a chance to fight the spread of COVID-19, as well as prevent its spread in the community, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in an address to the nation on Friday (10 April).

This decision falls in line with the World Health Organization's recommendations that countries do not terminate their MCOs too early, as doing so in some countries has resulted in the virus spreading further.

In his speech, PM Muhyiddin also highlighted a few points, as follows:

Border controls will be further tightened

The country's borders will see tighter controls involving the relevant authorities and agencies - such as the police, immigration department, maritime enforcement agency and more, to prevent any illegal immigrants from other affected countries from entering and potentially spreading the virus.

Selected critical sectors to be re-opened during the MCO

In helping mitigate the impact of the situation on businesses, the government has agreed to re-open several sectors in stages during the period of the MCO. Companies under these sectors will still have to strictly adhere to the country's health and safety guidelines, and have to first submit an application to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry starting today (13 April).

The MITI has released a statement on the approved functions that can reopen, and a list of considerations before a company's application to re-open can be approved. These include:

Its importance in the global value chain and the country's exports. This step is to ensure the stability of export activities;
The activity of economic sectors with high value-added multiplier;
The impact on the sustainability of SMEs in the economic sector, particularly in manufacturing and services; and
The size of workforce involved.
The list of additional sectors that are authorised to operate, per the MITI, include the aerospace industry, machinery and equipment industry, automotive industry, construction, social health services, and more. Full list here.

Schools to remain closed until situation improves, home-based learning to take place

PM Muhyiddin has stressed that schools will remain closed until the country gets on the path to recovery, with home-based learning initiatives to be implemented. This will take place during the MCO period, as well as until further notice.

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Photo / Screengrab of PM Muhyiddin's speech on 10 April