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Malaysia to allow interstate travel from Monday, some COVID-19 restrictions remain for KL, Selangor and Sabah

Malaysia to allow interstate travel from Monday, some COVID-19 restrictions remain for KL, Selangor and Sabah

Residents register for coronavirus testing at a private hospital in Sunway, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Oct 7, 2020. (Photo: AP/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will allow movement across states and districts nationwide from Monday (Dec 7) without the need for a police permit, except in areas under a lockdown known as Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO). 

“Police will also remove roadblocks from Dec 7 but would focus on compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP),” said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob during a media conference on Saturday.

He also said that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) will end as scheduled on Dec 6 for most states. 

However, it will be extended until Dec 20 for Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, most of Selangor, as well as some parts of Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan and Perak.

Under the CMCO, all schools, institutions of higher learning, skills training institutes, pre-schools and tahfiz centres must be closed. All social and cultural activities including at entertainment centres and nightclubs are also not allowed.

READ: Domestic travel bubbles approved in Malaysia as movement curbs lifted in four states

The decision to lift the CMCO was made after considering the current and expected impact on economic recovery if the restrictions were to be extended, Mr Ismail said.

“The country is expected to suffer a GDP loss of RM300 million (US$74 million) a day if CMCO is continued and this will result in a decline in the labour market and household spending, investment uncertainty, permanent job loss, business closure and other effects either directly or indirectly," he said.

"Therefore, the government needs to consider all aspects in formulating any approach to create a balance between maintaining public health and impact on the economy."

LATEST ROUND OF CMCO WAS REINSTATED IN OCTOBER

Malaysia has implemented various stages of restrictions since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, beginning with the Movement Control Order in March.

The pandemic appeared to be under control between June and August until cases started to rise again in September. This was partly due to the surge in travel to and from Sabah for the state election.

Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have been under a CMCO since Oct 14 as COVID-19 cases surged there as well, partly due to infections at Top Glove, the world's biggest maker of latex gloves.

READ: Movement restrictions to tighten in Selangor, KL and Putrajaya as cases spike amid third wave of COVID-19

READ: Malaysia to shut some Top Glove factories in phases amid COVID-19 outbreak

On Nov 9, the CMCO was reinstated across all but three states in Peninsular Malaysia for four weeks as the country continued to battle a resurgence of the coronavirus. That period of restrictions was to last until Dec 6.

On Saturday, Malaysia reported 1,123 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 71,359.

Four more deaths were reported, taking the total to 380.

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