MCO 2.0: Critical Construction Works Allowed

Following the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s announcement on 11 January 2021 in relation to the imposition of the Movement Control Order (‘MCO 2.0’) in the states of Johor, Malacca, Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, Selangor, Penang and Sabah), the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (‘MITI’) has issued the list of economic sectors that will be allowed to operate during the period of MCO 2.0. This includes, among others, the construction sector. The Ministry of Works has subsequently issued a press statement on 12 January 2021 clarifying that critical construction works can be carried out during the MCO 2.0, a summary of which is as set out below.
Types of Critical Construction Works Allowed
  1. Critical Maintenance and Repair Works
Critical maintenance and repair works refer to works that will endanger or harm workers, members of the public or the environment if left unattended or unfinished. Such works include:
  1. Repair of slopes and traffic lights;
  2. Repair and maintenance of roads;
  3. Repair of buildings, offices or personal residences;
  4. Traffic management control;
  5. Periodic inspection and repair of lifts, travelators, escalators and other critical mechanical and electrical equipment;
  6. Repair, maintenance and upgrading works of premises of essential services;
  7. Construction of ‘Bailey Bridge’ at locations with collapsed bridges;
  8. Construction of tunnels;
  9. Emergency works as stipulated in a contract;
  10. Maintenance and cleaning works for disposal of stagnant water or pest control fogging at construction sites; and
  11. Works which, if left unfinished, will cause danger or harm.
  1. Construction Works for Key Public Infrastructure
Construction works for key public infrastructure means works that mainly utilise machinery, works that do not involve workers gathering together in one place, works that are carried out far away from members of the public or works where the construction site is at a remote area. Such works include:
  1. Highways and roads;
  2. Bridges and viaducts;
  3. Light Rail Transit or Mass Rapid Transit;
  4. Infrastructure in relation to electricity, telecommunications or oil and gas;
  5. Infrastructure in relation to dams, drainage and sewerage.
  1. Building Construction Works
Building construction works will be allowed for the following projects:
  1. Projects that provide workers accommodation at the construction site; and
  2. Projects where construction workers are placed at Centralised Labour Quarters (CLQ) and are transported to and from the construction site.
Contractors should note that the aforementioned workers accommodation must be in compliance with the requirements of the Workers Minimum Standard and Amenities Act 1990.
  1. Consultancy or Professional Services
Consultancy or professional services may only be carried out for the critical construction works as listed in sub-paragraph (i) to (iii) above. Consultants are required to fully comply with the applicable standard operating procedure and must ensure they utilise a minimum workforce and only carry out critical tasks while at the construction site.
  1. Other Services in the Supply Chain
Other services in the supply chain such as the supply and delivery of construction materials are allowed, but will be limited only to construction sites that have been granted the permission to operate on the basis that they involve critical construction works as listed in sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) above. All parties in the supply chain must fully comply with the applicable standard operating procedure, including sanitising the vehicle and items to delivered and recording their temperatures when entering the construction site.
Application for Permission to Operate
Construction companies are required to apply to MITI for permission to operate in order to carry out any critical construction works during MCO 2.0. Applications can be made online at MITI’s online portal.
Control of Movement of Construction Workers
The movement of construction workers to and from the construction site and the workers accommodation must be strictly monitored. Contractors shall provide limited transportation for the construction workers to travel from their accommodation to the construction site and back. Further, contractors must ensure the daily needs of the workers, including food and personal hygiene items, are available at the construction site to prevent the construction workers from leaving the construction site unnecessarily.
Contractors should also note that during the period of MCO 2.0, construction workers are not permitted to travel between construction sites. 
The types of construction works allowed to be carried out during MCO 2.0 is comparatively wider than what was allowed during the first MCO. This will hopefully lessen the impact of MCO 2.0 on both large and small contractors. However, contractors should be aware that, in addition to their own compliance with standard operating procedures, they are responsible for ensuring their workers’ compliance. In practice, this will not be an easy task.
The press statement issued by the Ministry of Works can be accessed here.
Please contact our Mr. Richard Khoo (Partner) or Ms. Rachel Chiah (Senior Associate) if you have any queries relating to this Alert.