Covid-19: Recovery Movement Control Order (Relaxation of Restrictions) *Update*

Following from the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s announcement on 7 June 2020 that the Recovery Movement Control Order (‘RMCO’) will be implemented nationwide from 10 June 2020 to 31 August 2020 (‘RMCO Period’), the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No. 7) Regulations 2020 (‘RMCO Regulations’) were gazetted on 9 June 2020 and will have effect during the RMCO Period. Our Alert on the RMCO Regulations is available here.
Subsequent to the publication of the RMCO Regulations, the Government has announced several relaxations to the prohibitions and restrictions under the RMCO Regulations. We summarise below the salient points of these relaxations –
Public transport allowed to operate at full capacity[1]
Public transport including aeroplanes, public and express buses, trains, ferries, e-hailing and taxi services are now allowed to operate at 100% capacity subject to strict compliance with the prescribed standard operating procedures (‘SOPs’).
E-hailing and taxi services are now allowed to operate without any time limit and to carry passengers according to the vehicle’s seating capacity. Previously, e-hailing and taxi services were only allowed to operate until 10 p.m. and were subject to a two-passenger limit.
Relaxation of the same house rule for private vehicles
Private vehicles are now allowed to carry passengers who are not family members subject to the vehicle’s seating capacity.[2] Previously, a person driving a private vehicle was only allowed to carry two passengers which was subsequently increased to four passengers, provided that such passengers are persons staying in the same house as the driver.
Reopening of schools
All schools nationwide for Form Five, Form Six, Vocational and Malaysian Higher Islamic Religious Certificate students are allowed to reopen from 24 June 2020.[3] The Ministry of Education had on 10 June 2020 issued SOPs for the education sector that specify, amongst others, that a distance of one metre must be maintained between tables and students with low body immunity are required to always wear a face mask in school.
Reopening of theme parks
Water theme parks and water park activities are presently included in the List of Prohibited Activities.[4] It has been announced that theme parks without water-based activities are now allowed to operate during the RMCO Period.[5]
Further relaxation for non-Muslim places of worship
Revised SOPs for non-Muslim places of worship will be announced later this week. Presently, non-Muslim places of worship are allowed to open one day per week for worship only if they are located within “green zones”.[6]
The SOPs for the social sector that are issued by the Ministry of National Unity on 10 June 2020 specify, amongst others, that the number of attendees at places of worship must not exceed 30 attendees at any one time and persons above 70 years of age (except religious leaders who lead prayers) and children below 12 years of age are not allowed to enter the places of worship.
Proposed reopening of reflexology and massage businesses[7]
Reflexology and massage activities at health and beauty establishments are presently included in the List of Prohibited Activities[8] and are not permitted to operate during the RMCO Period. The Ministry of Health is in the process of drawing up the relevant SOPs that will be presented to the National Security Council later this week.
As Malaysia has now moved to the recovery stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is envisaged that the Government will further ease the prohibitions and restrictions imposed on activities under the RMCO Regulations, so long as there is no significant spike in the number of new Covid-19 cases. However, the requirement to comply with the relevant SOPs in relation to the conduct of activities will remain as part of the new normal for the foreseeable future.
Alert prepared by Tan Wei Liang (Associate) of Skrine.

[1]Public transport to run at full capacity’, The Star Online, 12 June 2020
[2] ibid
[3] ‘It’s a date: Secondary schools reopen on June 24, exam cohorts get first dibs’, The Star Online, 10 June 2020
[4] See Schedule to the RMCO Regulations.
[5]Theme parks can open again except those with water-based activities’, The Star Online, 12 June 2020
[6] ‘Ismail Sabri: SOP for non-Muslim places of worship to be decided next week’, The Star Online, 12 June 2020. According to the Ministry of Health, a ‘green zone’ is an area with no Covid-19 cases.
[7] ‘Health DG: More sectors will be allowed to open throughout RMCO’, The Edge Online, 11 June 2020 and ‘28 case-free days the benchmark’, The Star Online, 12 June 2020
[8] See Schedule to the RMCO Regulations.