Covid-19: Clarifications and FAQs (Part 3)
24 March 2020
We had previously issued two 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 Alerts are available here
For this Alert, we have reviewed the following FAQs –
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Belia dan Sukan (Ministry of Youth & Sports) on 20 March 2020 (‘MYS FAQs’);
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Pembangunan Usahawan dan Koperasi (Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives) on 18 March 2020 (‘MEDAC FAQs’);
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat (Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development) on 20 March 2020 (‘MOWFCD FAQs’);
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia (Ministry of Communications and Multimedia) on 22 March 2020 (‘MCM FAQs’);
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Luar Negara (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on 22 March 2020 (‘MFA FAQs’);
- Part 1 of the FAQs issued by Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Makanan (Ministry of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries) on 19 March 2020 (‘MOA FAQs-I’);
- Part 2 of the FAQs issued by Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Makanan (Ministry of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries) on 20 March 2020 (‘MOA FAQs-II’);
- Part 3 of the FAQs issued by Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Makanan (Ministry of Agriculture and Agro Based Industries) on 22 March 2020 (‘MOA FAQs-III’);
- FAQs issued by Kementerian Perusahaan Peladang dan Komoditi (Ministry of Primary Industries and Commodities) on 20 March 2020 (‘MPIC FAQs-I’)
- FAQs (Update) issued by Kementerian Perusahaan Peladang dan Komoditi (Ministry of Primary Industries and Commodities) on 21 March 2020 (‘MPIC FAQs-II’).
Below is a summary of some noteworthy issues contained in some of the FAQs that may be of interest to commercial enterprises and businesses.
The MEDAQ FAQs, among others, set out the procedures and documentation requirements for applying for postponement of payments by customers of SME Bank who are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The FAQs also set out the criteria and terms that an applicant has to comply with to qualify for postponement of payment obligations (e.g. see FAQ Nos. 4 and 5).
The full text of the MEDAC FAQs is available here
: FAQ Nos. 1 and 2 clarify the Cybersecurity Malaysia will continue to be operational during the Relevant Period as its services are essential services. However, only a minimum number of its staff will be present at its offices, whilst the majority will work from home.
FAQ No. 5 clarifies that all meetings are postponed except for meetings that are important which will be held online.
Personal Data Protection Department
: As a general rule, the offices of this department will be closed during the Relevant Period and staff are to work from home. However, attendance by staff at the office is allowed for critical functions during specified hours (FAQ Nos. 7 to 9).
: Although MyNIC’s office will be closed during the Relevant Period, online registration of domain names with “.my” can be carried online at https://shop.ichoose.my/
or through MyNIC’s sales agents, a list of which is available at https://mynic.my/resources/domains/find-our-partners/
(FAQ Nos. 10 and 11).
The full text of the MCM FAQs is available here
The importation of food, such as milk, beef, vegetables and fruits remains consistent. However there movement of such products may be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak (FAQ No. 5).
The movement of food, including fish for consumption, into and out of Malaysia is permitted during the Relevant Period, subject to health checks (FAQ No. 8).
FAQ No. 11 clarifies that activities relating to agriculture/livestock/fishing/aquaculture may continue during the Relevant Period, but farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen must keep appropriate distance and maintain minimum contact from each other; where necessary, heath checks must be carried out.
In addition livestock breeders are advised under FAQ No. 12 to take steps to –
- minimise contact with other persons;
- practise the concept of rotation of work to reduce the number of people in the field;
- continue livestock activities as usual with minimal workforce;
- continue to supply fish to ensure sufficient products in the market;
- suspend stocking-up of fish seeds during the Relevant Period.
The full text of the MOA FAQs-I is available here
MOA FAQs-II makes a correction and clarification to two FAQs in MOA FAQs-I which are not relevant to our above comments on MOA FAQs-I.
The full text of the MOA FAQs-II is available here
Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (‘MAQIS’)
Applications for export or import permits from MAQIS will continue throughout the Relevant Period (FAQ No. 1). The export or import of agricultural produce may continue as MAQIS has not received any directive to restrict the export or import of such products (FAQ No. 2).
According to FAQ No. 3, the officers of MAQIS remain on duty at the entry points to the country to inspect consignments.
In FAQ No. 7, MAQIS affirms its client charter that complete applications for fish and agricultural produce submitted online will be automatically approved within 2-3 minutes while applications submitted for animal products will be approved manually within 24 hours.
MAQIS has to date, not imposed any prohibition against the import of live animals (FAQ No. 8). It has also not prohibited the movement by land, air or sea for plants, agricultural produce, soil, microorganisms, animals, carcass or meat, and fish (FAQ No. 9).
Any appeal against any error that occurs during the inspection of a consignment at entry point will be considered within two business days, and a decision will be made within seven working days, as stated in MAQIS’s client charter (FAQ No. 10).
Department of Veterinary Services (‘DVS’)
FAQ No. 17 clarifies that all critical services under the DVS such as disease control and issuance of interstate livestock movement permits and health certificates will operate as scheduled during the Relevant Period.
FAQ No. 18 confirms that the DVS licensing services counter under the Feed Act 2009 remain operational during the Relevant Period.
The DVS veterinary clinics and private veterinary clinics will remain open during the Relevant Period for the following services –
- emergency cases, such as accidents and injury to animals;
- treatment or vaccination of animals for appointments confirmed before 18 March 2020; and
- follow-up treatment for in-patient animals.
In addition, private veterinary clinics may continue to provide boarding services for animals admitted for boarding before 18 March 2020 (see FAQ Nos. 20 and 21).
FAQ No. 22 confirms that pet shops selling pet food are allowed to operate during the Relevant Period but such shops must keep business operations at a minimum level and implement Covid-19 prevention procedures prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
FAQ No. 24 clarifies that abattoirs operated by the DVS will operate as scheduled during the Relevant Period as the preparation of food is a critical service. For a similar reason, it is stated in FAQ No. 25 that there is no restriction on the transportation of livestock to abattoirs.
The full text of the MOA FAQs-III is available here
As a general rule, the plantation and commodities sector are subject to the MCO (FAQ No. 1). Relaxation of the MCO is made in respect of work that is directly involved in the production of products which are ‘essential’ and critical under the plantation and commodities sectors, namely the following subsectors –
Activities in the oil palm subsector for which the MCO is relaxed are –
- harvesting of fresh fruit bunches by plantation companies and smallholders;
- sale of fresh fruit bunches to oil palm traders;
- processing of fresh fruit bunches by palm oil mills; and
- processing of raw palm oil at refineries to produce cooking oil to meet the requirements of the domestic market.
Those who are accorded this relaxation are plantation owners/smallholders, oil palm traders, palm oil mills and refineries whose licences are still valid with the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (‘MPOB’) (FAQ No. 3).
FAQ No. 3 states that activities in the rubber subsector are tapping of rubber for the purpose of supplying raw material to produce medical equipment such as gloves and catheter. Parties who are accorded this relaxation are –
- plantation owners and smallholders who possess Authority Permit for Rubber Transactions;
- rubber purchasers with valid licences from the Malaysian Rubber Board (‘MRB’); and
- rubber processing companies to fulfil the requirement to produce medical equipment products and others.
The activity of industrial processing of timber must only involve consignment under an existing contract is subject to the following conditions –
- an application for licence will only be considered through the online system of the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (‘MTIB’);
- An application will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the production of the contract involved; and
- A party who is involved must produce a list of workers involved to the MTIB during the Relevant Period and ensure that the movement of the workers involved is restricted from home to the factory/premises.
The certification of the activities in the oil palm sector will be regulated by the MPOB, whereas for the rubber sector by the MRB. For the timber sector, all company applications are to be submitted to the MTIB for consideration by the Special Committee for Exemption of Industry from the MCO.
All processing activities for the timber sector and the oil palm sector should be conducted within the working hours which are necessary for the said activities.
The employer and management must ensure that the necessary Covid-19 prevention measures are taken including requiring their workers to practise social distancing and using soap and hand sanitiser to clean their hands, while always ensuring that their workers promptly return to their homes after work.
All plantation owners/smallholders and manufacturers are required to carry out the following to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infecting the workers during the Relevant Period –
- Inspecting and monitoring the health before operations
- All workers must be subject to a health check before entering the operations area by using non-contact thermometer and checking for symptoms of Covid-19;
- Information on the level of health of each worker must be kept by the plantation owner/smallholder and the manufacturer;
- All workers must always maintain personal hygiene and practise social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least one metre from other workers; and
- Any worker who has been identified to have displayed symptoms of Covid-19 must be given access to medical care on an urgent basis and quarantine measures must be undertaken. Thus, the plantation owner/smallholder and manufacturer must prepare an appropriate quarantine venue in the event of such incidents.
- Preventive measures during operations
- Transportation of workers to the place of operations in large groups is not permitted. A plantation owner/smallholder and manufacturer must minimise the number of workers required to carry out the operations to reduce the risk of infection among the workers;
- All workers must always maintain personal hygiene and practise social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least one metre between one worker and another throughout the period of operations;
- A plantation owner/smallholder and manufacturer must minimise the circumstances which require the workers to gather in large numbers, such as requiring the workers to have staggered rest times to avoid such situation;
- A plantation owner/smallholder and manufacturer must provide hand sanitisers and face masks and also place the same at strategic locations in common spaces such as entrances to operations areas, prayer rooms, canteens and workers' vehicles; and
- A plantation owner/smallholder and manufacturer need to carry out regular disinfection in the operations areas especially at the workers’ common spaces.
- Health checks on visitors/suppliers
- The number of visitors and suppliers entering the operations area must be restricted and they should only be allowed to enter the operations area for “critical” purposes only;
- All visitors and suppliers should be subject to a health check by using a non-contact thermometer and checking for symptoms of Covid-19; and
- Any visitor or supplier who has been identified to have displayed Covid-19 symptoms should not be allowed to enter the operations area.
The Government has stressed that this relaxation may be cancelled and withdrawn if any of the specified conditions are not complied with by a plantation owner/smallholder or manufacturer.
The full text of the MPIC FAQs-I is available here
MPIC FAQ-II has enhanced some of the requirements in MPIC FAQ-I. These enhancements have been incorporated into our summary on MPIC FAQ-I.
The full text of the MPIC FAQs-II is available here
MYS FAQs, MOWFCD FAQs and MFA FAQs
The full text of the MYS FAQs, MOWFCD FAQs and MFA FAQs are available here
The MFA FAQs contain helpful information on immigration related matters that are in force during the Relevant Period.