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Malaysia eases COVID-19 restrictions, more economic sectors allowed to reopen

Wet markets, barbers and car washes are among businesses that can reopen in areas under phase 1 of the national recovery plan.

Malaysia eases COVID-19 restrictions, more economic sectors allowed to reopen

Security personnel check the temperatures of people entering a market, while enforcing social distancing, in Penang, Malaysia on May 29, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Goh Chai Hin)

PUTRAJAYA: More businesses in Malaysia will be permitted to resume operations from Monday (Aug 16) as the country moves to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the economic sector. 

The loosened curbs follow "early positive signs" that the national immunisation programme was bearing fruit, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement released on his Facebook page on Sunday morning. 

He noted that the admission rate of COVID-19 patients to hospitals across all age groups has begun to decline in the Klang Valley and in several other areas.

Mr Muhyiddin said data showed a decrease in the number of cases requiring hospital support in areas where more than 40 per cent of the adult population was fully vaccinated. 

He also said the situation at hospital emergency departments in the Klang Valley has "improved", with the number of patients in the emergency wards reducing from 909 in Jul 31 to 239 patients as of Aug 13. 

Given these improvements and taking into account the risk assessment data, Mr Muhyiddin said the government has decided to allow more businesses to ease restrictions in the economic sector from Monday. 


For areas under phase 1 of Malaysia's national recovery plan, Mr Muhyiddin announced that 11 types of economic activities will be allowed to resume operations. 

The affected areas are Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

The permitted activities are car washes, electronic stores, stores selling home goods and kitchen equipment, furniture stores, stores selling sporting equipment, car accessories stores, car distribution and sales centres, wet markets and farmers' markets, clothing and fashion stores, jewellery stores as well as barbers and hair salons. 

However, Mr Muhyiddin stressed that for clothing and fashion stores, jewellery outlets as well as barbers and hair salons, vendors must adhere to additional measures such as wearing gloves and not permitting the use of fitting rooms.

Owners of companies listed in these 11 business categories must also ensure that customers who enter the premises show a COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate to prove that they are fully vaccinated.

For the states of Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Perak and Penang, which are under phase 2, the government has also agreed to allow economic activities to resume operations from Monday. 

These activities are "in addition to the 11 economic activities allowed to resume in phase 1", he said. 

The economic activities comprise shops selling photography goods and providing photography services, second-hand stores, florists and nurseries, handicraft and souvenir shops, antique shops and toy stores.

Stores selling "creative content" and "creative industry equipment" as well as outlets selling outdoor goods, cosmetics and perfumes, carpets, and tobacco products, including vape and electronic cigarettes, have also been given the green light to resume operations. 

Owners of these premises must also ensure that customers show proof that they have been fully vaccinated.


Mr Muhyiddin added that the government will also allow activities to resume in the manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying sectors from Monday across areas in Phases 1, 2 and 3. 

He emphasised that the operating capacities will be dependent on the complete vaccination rate of the workers in these facilities. 

Health workers wearing protective suits at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 4, 2020. (Photo: Malaysia's Ministry of Health/Muzzafar Kasim)

For areas where 80 to 100 per cent workers are fully vaccinated, operations are allowed to resume fully.

Operations are allowed to resume at 80 per cent capacity for areas where 60 to 79 per cent of workers are inoculated. 

For sectors where 40 to 59 per cent of workers are fully vaccinated, operations are only allowed to resume at 60 per cent capacity. 

Additionally, for areas under phase 1, Mr Muhyiddin said that the government will allow residents to enter public recreational parks to exercise from Monday. 

He maintained that visitors are only allowed to engage in individual activities such as jogging and cycling.

In his statement, Mr Muhyiddin stressed that each ministry, agency and business must be fully responsible in ensuring that the activities are conducted in accordance with the rules and guidelines that have been set to avoid harm.

"The government will not hesitate to withdraw the facilities provided in the event of non-compliance with the guidelines and standard operating procedures that have been set," he added. 

Malaysia reported 20,670 new COVID-19 cases and 260 deaths from the disease on Saturday. 

A total of 31.1 per cent of the country’s population, or 10,144,199 people, had received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, said Health Minister Adham Baba.

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Source: CNA/am


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