The general standard operating procedures (SOPs) covered here address business operating procedures, management of COVID-19 cases, and vaccination requirements.
Update on 28 April 2022: The Ministry announced the relaxation of all SOPs starting 1 May — including quarantine updates for COVID-positive cases, doing away with MySejahtera, and more. Head over here to view each coverage.
As announced by Malaysia's Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on 8 March 2022 (Tuesday), Malaysia will begin its transition to the endemic phase from Friday, 1 April 2022, with a national strategy named #ReopeningSafely, or Peralihan Ke Endemik.
With today being the first day of the transition, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Security Council (Majlis Keselamatan Negara, or MKN) have released the full set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to follow in this period.
Business owners are only allowed to operate according to the license or permit issued by the local authority (Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan, or PBT).
Entry check and registration on the premises
Business owners are to provide the MySejahtera QR code for entry registration, and ensure employees and individuals use the MySejahtera app to scan the QR code when entering premises or participating in activities within the premises. On top of that, they must ensure that only employees and individuals with 'low risk' status on MySejahtera are allowed to enter the premises or carry out their activities.
Further, business owners who are operating at shopping malls, wholesale markets, night markets, bazaars, and other similar locations are to provide the QR Code at the main entrance of the premises. Stores, stalls, and kiosks that are located inside the aforementioned premises do not need to provide the QR code. That said, areas that fulfil the following three criteria: outdoor areas, areas without crowds, and mass gatherings (i.e., recreational areas) are exempted from this guideline.
At the same time, business owners must take note of employees' and individuals' vaccination status (read: 'vaccination requirements' below). They must present a 'fully vaccinated' status requirement for employees and individuals, including travellers, through proper communication channels, as well as check the vaccination card/ digital certificate (on MySejahtera) of every employee and individual for activities — within the premises — that require a 'fully vaccinated' status.
Those who meet the requirements are allowed to bring children aged 12 and below into the premises, with adherence to public health protocols.
Those who are, however, ineligible to be vaccinated due to medical reasons, are required to present a certified medical report by a registered medical practitioner to the business owner, or the employer.
Wearing of face masks
Business owners must ensure employees and individuals wear face masks at all times while on the premises, or when participating in activities. Employees and individuals themselves must also ensure they wear a face mask at all times when in the company of others.
However, the wearing of face masks is exempted from the following premises and activities:
- The occupants' own residences, hotel rooms, rooms in accommodation, in public places, and facilities that do not involve interaction with other individuals;
- Individual workspaces;
- Sports, recreational, and leisure activities;
- Private vehicles excluding e-hailing;
- While eating and drinking, and
- Performances (singing, dancing, acting, public speech);
And from the following group of individuals:
- Children aged five and below,
- Individuals with special needs (people with specific disabilities such as individuals with cerebral palsy or autism), and
- Individuals with breathing difficulties (a certified medical report from a registered medical practitioner is required).
Business owners must monitor and ensure employees and individuals always maintain a physical distancing of at least one metre from others where possible, while on premises or when participating in activities. Employees and individuals themselves must also ensure they maintain social distancing of at least one metre from others where possible.
Physical distancing is, however, not required to be enforced:
- During contact sports and recreational activities, and
- When a face mask is on, even
- During individual movement, or in freight transport, and public transport for any types of vehicles; and
- During congregational prayers in mosques or surau and other places of worship.
With regard to religious practices, Malaysians can note that physical distancing and the wearing of face masks before and after congregational prayers, as well as while carrying out other activities in mosques or suraus must still be maintained. An exception to physical distancing during congregational prayers is subject to the State Islamic Religious Department's discretion.
Further, physical distancing and the wearing of face masks for other activities in other houses of worship must still be maintained. An exception to physical distancing during prayers is subject to the Ministry of National Unity or Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR)'s discretion.
Business owners must ensure good ventilation and ventilation systems on premises, especially in indoor spaces, based on the guidance note on Ventilation And Indoor Air Quality, Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
Business owners must provide facilities to wash hands with soap and water, or hand sanitisers, at appropriate and strategic places.
Business owners must perform frequent cleaning as per schedule (at least once a day) especially for public areas or frequently touched equipment and surfaces; and ensure cleaning is recorded for inspection.
COVID-19 screening test
Business owners must adhere to the COVID-19 testing requirements per the National COVID-19 Testing Strategy (NTS) for employees and individuals.
Employees and individuals themselves must also adhere to the COVID-19 testing requirements per the NTS, and report their test results on the MySejahtera app.
Looking beyond the general guidelines, Malaysians can take note of the following to understand how to manage cases of COVID-19, as well as what are the vaccination requirements in Malaysia.
Management of COVID-19 cases
#1 Symptomatic, confirmed, and close-contacts cases
Employers are to:
- Prepare health and safety protocol and manage symptomatic individuals, confirmed cases of COVID-19, and close contacts based on COVID-19 Management Guidelines for Workplaces, MOH (Annex 25).
- Carry out cleaning and disinfecting process based on Annex 36. and
- Cover the cost of testing if employees are identified as symptomatic while on the premises, or at the locations where activities are held, and the cost of cleaning and disinfecting on premises;
- Employers are required to cover the cost of isolation for confirmed cases, and the cost of quarantine for close contacts. For civil servants, this is subject to government circulars from time to time;
- Accept digital home surveillance order (HSO) for employees who are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, as proof of employee undergoing isolation or quarantine; and
- If a COVID-19 cluster is detected at a particular premise, report to the nearest District Health Office promptly.
More information on workplace guidelines can be found here.
#2 Cases from international travellers
Business owners are to inform requirements for travellers through appropriate communication channels.
Employees who are travelling to Malaysia by air, land, and sea transportation, are to display their travellers card in the MySejahtera app, to show that they have:
- Completed the pre-departure form; and
- Uploaded relevant documents (i.e., vaccination certificate), and the polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) results.
On top of that, employees must ensure that as travellers, they need to report negative results of the RT-PCR test performed within two days before departure are allowed to travel to Malaysia by air, sea, and land transport.
In general, travellers are required to complete the following items before departing for Malaysia (example: before boarding the plane/ while overseas):
- Perform RT-PCR test two days before departure,
- Download, register and activate the MySejahtera app,
- Complete the pre-departure form accessible via the ‘Traveller’ icon in the MySejahtera application including the vaccination information and upload the vaccination certificate (if applicable) and RT-PCR test results, and
- Non-Malaysian citizen travellers must be protected by COVID-19 insurance with minimum insurance coverage of US$20,000. This, however, does not apply to those who are entering Malaysia from Singapore.
Travellers can also note that RT-PCR testing - and uploading of test results - for pre-departure and on-arrival is not required for children aged six and below, but required for those within a six to 60-day timeframe after being infected with COVID-19.
With regard to Point 4 - in specific to the non-Malaysian citizens travellers - the Ministry noted that exemptions are given to Long-term (Social) Pass/ Expatriates Pass/ Student Pass/ Study Pass/ Resident Pass/ Permanent Resident Pass holders, non-citizen spouses of Malaysian citizens and their children, foreign workers including foreign helpers, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) with a stay period exceeding three months in Malaysia.
Upon arrival in Malaysia, travellers are required to:
- Bring along required documents as evidence or upload them to MySejahtera for review;
- Undergo fever screening through a thermal scanner or self-referral to a healthcare worker for further examination at a health assessment counter located at the International Entry Point (PMA) if symptomatic, and
- Undergo professional RTK-Ag test at a private facility within 24 hours from the time of arrival.
Travellers who are not fully vaccinated, or unvaccinated, are to:
- Conduct mandatory quarantine (Observation or Surveillance of Contact under Act 342) at home/ hotel/ accommodation for five days;
- Complete Health Assessment Tool (HAT) daily through MySejahtera, and
- Perform RT-PCR test on Day 4 or RTK-Ag test on Day 5.
Travellers who are commuting on a daily, or frequent basis through the land border, have to also comply with the relevant procedures specified in the transport and movement guidelines.
Malaysians - and travellers - must note that the vaccine types, vaccine brands, and definition of 'fully vaccinated' above are subject to current the MOH’s recommendations, and will be updated from time to time. For other vaccines recognised by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency use listing, the definition of 'fully vaccinated' is subject to the approval of the authorities of the producing country - and the lists of types and brands of vaccines will be updated from time to time.
That said, the Ministry would like to remind that all recipients of Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines aged 18 and above, as well as recipients of all primary dose vaccine types aged 60 and above, will lose their 'fully vaccinated' status in their MySejahtera application if they have not received their booster dose starting 1 April 2022. Although, they are still permitted to take part in essential activities (highlighted below) so long as they have completed the primary vaccination regime (i.e., the 'complete primary dose' column).
Essential activities include the following:
- Buying food, drinks, and basic necessities;
- Staying in hotels, guest accommodations, and homestays;
- Obtaining medical and health services including laboratories and pharmacies;
- Attending activities related to career or continuity of livelihoods such as school, examination, seminars, work, and interviews;
- Banking including pawnshops;
- Wedding, marriage registrations, and divorce proceedings;
- Non-contact sports and recreational activities in outdoor areas;
- Travelling using air, land, and sea transport including interstate travel, and
- Other activities that involve emergency situations, such as moving to a temporary evacuation centre.
The Ministry would also like to reiterate that a 'fully vaccinated' status is a pre-requisite for:
- Travelers entering Malaysia from abroad;
- International students studying at educational institutions in Malaysia;
- Foreign workers brought into Malaysia using a visitor’s pass (temporary employment);
- Foreign domestic helpers;
- Pilgrims performing Umrah and Haji activities (and a booster dose is required for Individual aged 18 years and above);
- Locals, permanent residents, expatriates, Malaysians working or studying abroad, and others, who travelled abroad and are returning to Malaysia.
Image / Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) and Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH)