To curb the spread of COVID-19, Malaysia has extended the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), which was due to end today, to 31 December 2020, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced on Friday (28 August) in a televised address.

According to a transcript of the broadcast posted on Facebook by the PM, implications of the extension include the following: 

  • Borders will remain closed to foreign tourists to prevent the import of cases into the country. 
  • Nightclubs and entertainment centres will remain closed, given the difficulty to practice the new norms in these places. 
  • While sports activities will be allowed, it will be without the involvement of international participants and spectators.

At the same time, strict quarantine regulations in certain places will continue to be enforced, Muhyiddin said. He explained that given the rapid spread of the virus abroad, the country cannot take the risk of super spreaders lightly. 

The PM added that no one shall be exempt from this rule and any individual who violates it shall be subject to appropriate punishment.

He also showed support for the Ministry of Health's proposal to increase the compounding rate for related offences at least two or three times the current rate. However, he added that the matter needs to be refined and Act 342 needs to be amended first.

In line with the extension of the RMCO period, the COVID-19 fund managed by NADMA will also be extended until 31 December 2020, Muhyiddin said.

He added that parties wishing to contribute to this fund can do so and donations to this fund will be used to help victims of COVID-19 and provide the needs to curb this epidemic.

Although the RMCO has been extended, Muhyiddin said: "I am confident that the lives of the brothers and sisters will not be affected as daily activities can be carried out as usual with the cultivation of new norms and compliance with the prescribed SOPs.

"The important thing is that the brothers and sisters must continue to get used to wearing face masks, washing their hands, always maintaining personal hygiene and avoiding crowded places. I believe all this has been done by the brothers and sisters over the years until we managed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in our society."

Explaining the reason behind this move, Muhyiddin said that while Malaysia has managed to control the spread of COVID-19, the country is still facing the risk of virus transmission as can be seen through the recent clusters in Kedah, Perlis, and Sarawak.

Additionally, the global transmission of COVID-19 has not yet shown signs that it will end in the near future.

"This means that the government still needs a legal mechanism to continue efforts to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19," Muhyiddin said. 

With the extension of the RMCO, "enforcement action under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 or Act 342 can still be taken. This is to ensure that all parties comply with the Standard Operating Procedures and health protocols set," he added.

Photo / Radio Televisyen Malaysia