Malaysia’s MCO moves into recovery phase

Under the recovery phase, the majority of business activities and economic sectors will reopen in phases, with SOPs to be adhered to.
By: | June 9, 2020

As the country’s infection rate from COVID-19 continues to drop, Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO) will enter a “recovery phase” beginning June 10 until Aug 31.

Making the announcement, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said, “Malaysia has successfully contained the spread of the pandemic and will now enter the recovery phase.”

Under the MCO, which was introduced on March 18, domestic and international travel was barred, and people were encouraged to stay at home to break the infection chain.

When implemented, the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) will see the majority of business activities and economic sectors reopen in phases, albeit with stringent measures such as social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Daycare centres, hair salons, beauty parlours, open markets and night markets have already been authorised to reopen, although establishments such as pubs, night clubs, entertainment outlets and reflexology centres will remain closed.

Welcoming the Penjana announcement, Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan added that initiatives will be implemented through the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) to help Malaysian workers retain their jobs.

He added, “Employees can also seize the opportunity to enhance their skills through the various programmes provided by the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR).

“This will also add value to the workforce and improve job matching potential, besides increasing the marketability of employees in the job market.”

To generate the country’s economy, Malaysia has rolled out stimulus packages worth RM$295 billion, including the Prihatin Package, introduced specifically to address the needs of SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initiatives under the Prihatin Package include the extension of the Wage Subsidy Programme by three months, which will allocate $5 billion to help SMEs continue operations without having to shut down business or lay off workers.

2.7 million local workers will benefit from the initiative, said Datuk Saravanan, who also pointed out that the Employment Incentive Programme, with an allocation of $1.5 billion, will encourage employers to provide employment opportunities to more than 300,000 unemployed people.

MOHR will also provide matching funds of $50 million for contribution payments under Socso’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme to protect workers in the gig economy for one year.

“In support of the flexible working system implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has also introduced an Employment Injury Scheme that will protect workers involved in work-related accidents at home,” Datuk Saravanan concluded.