Covid-19: Clarifications and FAQs (Part 2)

We had earlier today issued an Alert on several clarifications and FAQs issued by various Ministries and Government Departments in relation to the Movement Control Order relating to Covid-19 (‘MCO’) that has been implemented in Malaysia from 18 to 31 March 2020 (‘Relevant Period’).  Our earlier Alert is available here.
In this Alert, we highlight matters that may be of interest to commercial enterprises and businesses in the following –
  • Media Statement issued by the National Security Council on 18 March 2020 in Relation to Companies that are Approved to Operate (‘NSC Operating Approval Statement’);
  • FAQs issued by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (‘MITI’) on 19 March 2020 (‘MITI FAQs’); and
  • FAQs issued by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (‘MDTCA’) on 17 March 2020 (‘MDTCA FAQs’).
NSC Operating Approval Statement
The Government has set out in a list of products in Part A of Lampiran A to the NSC Operating Approval Statement which are regarded as critical products (‘Critical Products’) and has given its approval to manufacturing companies that manufacture the Critical Products to operate during the Relevant Period, subject to MITI’s approval.
Part B of Lampiran A to the NSC Operating Approval Statement contains a list of products that are regarded as part of the supply chain for the Critical Products and are exempted from the MCO.
According to paragraph 4 of the NSC Operating Approval Statement, the approval is given subject to manufacturing companies keeping employee operations at a minimum level and implementing employee rotation. The industry must also be responsible to ensure that the Covid-19 prevention measures are implemented at the company’s level for the safety of employees and customers.
Paragraph 5 sets out the conditions that must be complied with by companies which are given approval to operate. In summary, the conditions are as follows –
  1. The company must reduce the number of employees to a minimum, or at least 50% of the current or registered number of employees are to be withdrawn, for manufacturing activities during the Relevant Period. The company should establish a system whereby employees who are not involved in critical manufacturing activities work from home.
  1. The company must fulfil all demands and needs for products or services for the local market.
  1. The company must submit to MITI a list of its employees who are involved during the Relevant Period and ensure that their movement is restricted from home to the factory/premises.
  1. The company must have body temperature monitoring equipment, and take the daily body temperature of its employees at the entrance to the factory/premises. The readings for each employee must be recorded and kept for reference.
  1. If the body temperature exceeds the normal range, the company should contact the nearest Health Office or Government Hospital.
  1. All employees must comply with the Covid-19 prevention procedures prescribed by the Ministry of Health from time to time.
  1. The company must provide hand sanitisers at the entrance and other relevant parts of the factory/premises, and ensure that each employee uses a face mask.
  1. The company must carry out a disinfection cleaning process at the factory/premises before each shift or operation commences.
  1. The sanitisation and disinfection process must be carried out three times a day, particularly in common spaces such as the lobby, lift, cafeteria, meeting rooms, prayer room, bus/ staff transport and indoor recreation centre.
  1. The company must ensure that the employee’s transport vehicles undergo a thorough sanitisation and disinfection process each time before they are used.
  1. The company must ensure that best practice guidelines on social distancing are in place and implemented, especially in the production floor areas, cafeteria/canteen, meeting rooms, prayer room and multipurpose hall,
  1. If an employee is infected with Covid-19, the company is responsible for the full costs of all medical expenses, the decontamination process of the premises, and other related costs.
  1. The Government may cancel and revoke the approval under the NSC Operating Approval Statement if the conditions are not complied with by the company/industry. 
  1. The Government may vary the above conditions based on the current circumstances.
The full text of the NSC Operating Approval Statement is available here.
Our English translation of Lampiran A to the NSC Operating Approval Statement is available here.
MITI has clarified in FAQ No. 1 of the MITI FAQs that approval is required from MITI to produce the Critical Products during the Relevant Period. The application must be in the application form that can be downloaded from              
FAQ No. 3 clarifies that companies that do not produce Critical Products are not entitled to appeal to operate during the Relevant Period.  This FAQ further clarifies that where a factory’s plant and machinery requires supervision of technical staff to operate, the factory may operate such plant and machinery using a minimum number of technical staff. An application may be submitted to MITI for this purpose. 
MITI has also clarified that only the manufacture of Critical Products are permitted to operate during the Relevant Period and non-critical operations must cease during this period.
Applications may be submitted for the certificates and approvals set out in FAQs Nos. 5 to 9 during the Relevant Period.
The full text of the MITI FAQs is available here.
FAQ No. 1 of the MDTCA FAQs states that distribution centres that are involved in the supply of essential daily needs and food including e-commerce warehouse and supporting warehousing services are allowed to continue operations.
According to FAQ No. 2, restaurants, Ready to Eat (RTE)/bakery are allowed to operate but only for takeaways and drive-thru’, or through delivery services by food delivery services such as Grab Food or Food Panda. Dine-in and eat-in are not allowed.
FAQ No. 3 states that –
  • food courts may remain open but only for takeaways or delivery by food delivery services. Dine-in and eat-in are not allowed; and
  • in respect of hypermarkets, only tenants in the clinical pharmacy industry are allowed to continue operations.
Retail operations (food and daily necessities only) by anchor tenants in shopping malls may continue operating subject to negotiations between the tenant and owner of the premises (FAQ No. 4).
For a specialty store, only food outlet/ grocery store/ convenience store within the specialty store may continue operating but only for takeaway food or delivery by food delivery services. Dine-in and eat-in are not allowed (FAQ No. 5).
FAQ No. 6 clarifies that the head office of a retail company may continue operating as usual. However, the company’s management must identify the sector/ division/ unit which are classified as essential services and the employees who attend work at the head office. Other sector/ division/ unit are required to work from home.
The MDTCA encourages supermarkets to implement their own measures to ensure that consumers do not purchase food items and daily necessities in unreasonable quantities (FAQ No. 7).
FAQ No. 8 clarifies that only the supermarket section which sells food and daily necessities are allowed to operate within a departmental store.
Self-service laundrettes are not allowed to operate (FAQ No. 9).
Services relating to security, such as security guards, may continue to be maintained at supermarkets under FAQ No. 10.
FAQ No. 11 states that e-commerce services are regarded as essential services while FAQ No. 12 clarifies that online purchases, deliveries and installation of goods at the customer’s house are permitted.
Customer service call centres are allowed to operate under FAQ No. 13. 
FAQ No. 14 requires ongoing renovations of business premises to be postponed; if there are safety issues, the company may obtain approval from the Ministry of Works and the Construction Industry Development Board for the renovations to continue.
It is clarified in FAQ No. 16 that only tenants operating in the clinical pharmacy industry, supermarket, grocery store and convenience store that sell daily necessities are allowed to continue operations in airports. Dine-in and eat-in are not allowed.
FAQ No. 17 states that services that have a direct impact on security and supply within the supply chain are allowed to continue operations. Consumers and third-party service providers should take prevention measures by using face masks and hand sanitisers.
A company that collects garbage from the premises of a supermarket/ convenience store/ grocery store is allowed to continue its operations (FAQ No. 18).
FAQ No. 19 stipulates that a company must comply with all quotas (e.g. rice, sugar, oil and flour) specified in licences issued by the relevant authorities. However this matter can be considered on a case to case basis.
The full text of the MDTCA FAQs is available here.