Lock down in Malaysia

Lock down in Malaysia
Imaginary picture of a lock down.

Malaysia has been imposed lock down since March 18th 2020 due to ongoing global pandemic COVID-19. Now, the current status of COVID-19 in Malaysia looks like going to approaching its ending. This caused by a long control order which imposed three stages of lock down.

  1. MCO (Movement Control Order)
  2. CMCO (Conditional MCO)
  3. RMCO (Recovery MCO)

Apart of that, there was also EMCO (enhanced MCO). This EMCO is done to a specific areas/site whereas the COVID-19 cases has an increased spike more than 40 cases. (I don’t know the time range to impose but it looks like 40 is an overall per daily basis).

Now let’s dig in on each of the stages and why Malaysia could be potentially finish this COVID-19 race earlier than other countries.

  • MCO

During the MCO period, a lot of restriction given to the Malaysian. For an example, only certain shops are allowed to operate mainly groceries and small groceries shop. But, wet market was not allowed to operate. We had curfew as well, by 8PM no one allowed on the streets, except there were some critical circumstances e.g. going to hospital, etc.

A friend of mine, was detained on during MCO period due to going out after 8 PM to buy some food. He was released after paid a summons amounting RM1,000 and jail terms for two-week period.

We were monitoring the cases using a third-party website called outbreak.my which has a nice statistical figure for each state in Malaysia. During this time, the increase of covid-19 patients was hitting triple digits and as far as 100+ cases per day.

  • CMCO

After around 1.6 months of MCO, the Prime Minister office announced that Malaysia was turning to the CMCO or conditional movement control order. The government has lifted some certain rules, hence the movement is much easier than before. Some businesses are allowed to open, but they need to practice a strict rules of standard operating procedure (SOP). Some office spaces as well now open but adhere a lot of strict SOP.

The main differences was this CMCO given due to approaching Eid Mubarak, and this ease of restriction also gives Malaysian a room to breathe. As an expat in Malaysia, during this time, the Grab Taxi only allowed in maximum 2 passengers on the same board. Hence it is easier for us comparing to MCO (only 1 passenger on the same board).

During this time, the increase of covid-19 patientes was hitting two digits and getting smaller-and-smaller day by day.

  • RMCO

Once the CMCO has been imposed for another 1.5 months plus, the Prime Minister office announced that Malaysia was turning to RMCO or recovery movement control order. In this stage, the government opened almost all (98%) of businesses, except businesses which has a close contact with other people and categorized as high-risk e.g. Cinema, Massage Parlor, Bars, Night Clubs etc.

The government also raised few points to boosts the economy mainly, tax exemption, utilities bill deductions, and other monetary stimulus.

Why these steps works?

What I see as foreigner in Malaysia, the government took this action seriously. There are mainly five reason why all of this steps above proven to be working,

One, Malaysian in the end were Obey to the Rules

During the first week of MCO, there are a lot of people who still was playing around and had a ‘don’t care’ mentality. But, as it was approaching the second week of MCO, as far as my observation, the people now started obeying the rules given by the government.

Two, Malaysian Government is Strict

During all of MCO stages, the government is really serious, there was a lot of road blocks on the main street and highways. Every single car was inspected and drivers need to give a proof if they wanted to move to a certain place/location. You could summoned RM 1,000 if you defying the rules with a jail term up to 6-month.

Three, State Government has one unified Decision

Malaysia has a lot of states, Federal Territory, Selangor, Johor, Pahang, etc; All of them has a unified decision to support each other. Hence, there ain’t any confusion between states resident. Federal Government made a decision based on inputs as well from other states (this what I read from the newspaper).

Four, Acted Fast

Yes, they acted fast. During the first initial MCO, When other countries still in preparation period, Malaysia acted fast by made a decision to lock down all of the activities. This action resulted in loss in economy but, had bigger impact on the recovery in the end.

Five, Leverage of Technology

The leverage of technology could be seen here. Malaysian government using Telegram to give information to people and sending a lot SMS about the new rules and operations. The health director as well has it’s own page to summarize the covid-19 status and percentage of recovery rate.

On other aspect as well, they created a small app to trace people movement which similar in China. All incoming Malaysian from abroad has electronic band tag to track their movement.

In conclusion

I see a good result coming in their way here. Malaysia has successfully flatten the curve and now only a small number of people that needs to take care of. Although this approach might be not perfect, but a lot of efforts has been made. Five points above created a successful movement control order and proven reducing covid-19 spreads.

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