RMCO extended until Dec 31, says PM

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said tonight the movement control order would be extended. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Restrictions on public activities under the recovery movement control order will be extended until the end of the year, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said tonight in a live telecast.

The current control order, which began on June 10, was due to expire on Monday.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia has been able to successfully control the spread of Covid-19 infections, but sporadic outbreaks continued to occur. The increasing number of cases globally meant it would take a longer period before Malaysia could be free of the deadly virus.

“This means the government still needs a legal mechanism to continue efforts to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19,” said Muhyiddin.

“Action can still be taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. This is to make sure all parties comply with SOPs and heath protocols,” he added.

Muhyiddin said that he supports the health ministry’s proposal to increase the penalty on those caught flouting the regulations. It would be increased by “at least two or three times” the current rate, but the Act would need to be amended first.

On Wednesday, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had proposed that the maximum fine be increased from RM1,000 to RM10,000.

Muhyiddin said those found flouting the regulations would be punished accordingly. He stressed that no one is exempt from the law.

Although the MCO had been extended, Muhyiddin said he was confident “that our lives will not be affected because daily activities can be carried out as usual with the cultivation of new norms and compliance with established SOPs.

“The important thing is we must continue to get used to wearing face masks, washing our hands, maintaining personal hygiene and avoiding crowded places.

“I believe we are all already doing this, which is why we have successfully prevented the spread of Covid-19 in our communities,” he said.

He reminded the public that while almost all sectors have been allowed to operate, certain businesses such as nightclubs and entertainment centres should remain shut due to difficulties in maintaining “new norms”.

The extension of the recovery MCO comes on the back of a statement by the World Health Organisation that the Covid-19 pandemic would last for at least two years.

The RMCO was the latest in a series of movement control orders stemming from the initial movement control order which began on March 18 under which all gatherings and public activities were suspended, including businesses and schools.; borders were closed and tight restrictions imposed on people’s movements.

The restrictions were gradually lifted and since July, schools and most businesses have been allowed to resume, as well as religious gatherings, domestic travel and entertainment and sporting activities.