Following from the issuance of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) Order 2020
on 17 March 2020, declaring all States and Federal Territories of Malaysia as infected areas of the Covid-19 disease, the Minster of Health has today issued the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020
The Regulations have effect from 18 to 31 March 2020 and set out the measures to be taken to control or prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus within or from the infected areas. Among these measures are the following –
Control of Movement and Gatherings
- No person shall make any journey from one place to another except for the following purposes –
- to perform any official duty;
- to make any journey to and from any premises providing essential services that remain open;
- to purchase, supply or deliver food or daily necessities;
- to seek healthcare or medical services; or
- any other special purposes as may be permitted by the Director General of Health (‘Director General’).
- No person may be involved in any gathering, whether for religious, sports, recreational, social or cultural purpose, except for a funeral ceremony provided that the number of attendees at such ceremony are kept to a minimum.
Health examination upon return to Malaysia
- No person shall make a journey from one infected local area to another except with the prior written permission of a police officer in charge of a police station.
A citizen or permanent resident of Malaysia retuning from overseas is required to undergo a health examination upon arrival in Malaysia before proceeding for immigration clearance, and shall comply with any order issued by an authorised officer.
- The following have been specified in the Schedule to the Regulations as ‘essential services’ -
- Banking and finance
- Electricity and energy
- Port, dock and airport services and undertakings including stevedoring, lighterage, cargo handling, pilotage and storing or bulking of commodities
- Production, refining, storage and distribution of fuel and lubricants;
- Healthcare and medical
- Solid waste management and public cleansing
- Radio communications including broadcasting and television
- Transport by land, water or air
- Defence and security
- Food supply
- Hotels and accommodations
- Any services or works determined by the Minister as essential or critical to public health or safety.
- Premises that provide essential services may be opened but the number of personnel and patrons at the premises are to be kept to the minimum.
- Premises involved in the food supply chain or in selling food and beverage by way of drive-through, takeaway and delivery may be open subject to conditions that the Director General may deem fit to impose.
Any premises not providing essential services may be opened if the owner or occupier of the premises obtains the prior written permission of the Director General, who may impose such conditions as he deems fit.
A person is required to comply with any request made by an authorised officer to provide any information relating to the prevention and control of infectious disease.
- Non-compliance with any provision of the Regulations is an offence punishable in accordance with Regulation 7(1).
- Where an offence is committed by a body corporate, any person who, at the time the offence is committed, was a director, manager, secretary or similar officer of the body corporate, or was purporting to act in any such capacity, or was in any manner or to any extent responsible for the management of the affairs of the body corporate or was assisting in such management, may be charged jointly and severally with the body corporate for the offence. The due diligence defence is available to such person if, having regard to the nature of his functions in that capacity, he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge, consent or connivance, and that he has taken all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.
The Regulations clarifies some of the measures set out in the Movement Control Order. For example, the nature of the health check for Malaysian citizens and permanent residents returning from overseas is now clarified.
It is also interesting to note that the Regulations have included hotels and accommodations as essential services and provide flexibility for the Director General to allow premises providing non-essential services to remain open subject to conditions as he deems fit to impose.
Certain aspects of the Regulations require further clarification. For example, the scope of the services comprised in ‘telecommunication’ and ‘wildlife’ that are to be regarded as essential services. In respect of the former, it is unlikely that retail outlets selling handphones and telecommunications equipment would be regarded as essential services. As for ‘wildlife’, the feeding and care of animals in wildlife reserves and zoos would clearly fall within this category, but not the hunting of wildlife for game, consumption or sale.