M’sia Extends RMCO Until 31 March As The Country Reports 2,068 New COVID-19 Cases on New Year’s Day


Our wait to cross the Causeway for good food will be for a few months longer as Malaysia extends its Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

The RMCO will now last till 31 March 2021.

The reason for the extension?

A significant rise in Covid-19 cases around the country.

According to Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the increase in the number of cases is due to the implementation of compulsory screening on foreign workers, and the spread of infection within the community, especially in the Klang Valley and several states.

Though the country’s RMCO has been extended, certain parts of Malaysia, such as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah as well as other localities, are placed under conditional or enhanced MCO.

The Health Ministry identified three new clusters at areas such as Selangor, Johor and Penang on 1 January, where 2,068 new cases were recorded. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 115,078.


Not the First Time the RMCO Has Been Extended

The RMCO was first announced on 10 June 2020, whereby almost all social, educational, religious, business, economic sectors resumed operations in stages. Interstate travel and domestic tourism activities were allowed.

Kind of like Phase 2, while the MCO (read on to know more about that) is akin to Singapore’s Circuit Breaker.

However, international travel was still not permitted during this period.

Originally scheduled to end on 31 August, the RMCO was extended till 31 December 2020.

During a televised address in August, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin mentioned that though the situation is controlled, the virus is still raging globally. As such, it will take some time for the country to be free of Covid-19.

To continue to control the spread of Covid-19, the RMCO was prolonged. Malaysia’s borders continued to remain close to foreign travellers, in an attempt to lower the number of imported cases into the country.

MCO Was Extended Twice

Before the RMCO kicked in, the MCO (Movement Control Order) which first started on 18 March 2020, also saw changes to the end date.

It was originally planned to end on 28 April. However, the MCO was extended to 12 May 2020.

The MCO contains stricter protocols as compared to RMCO. It was first implemented when the country saw a three-figure spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Under the MCO, both interstate and international travelling were barred, while schools and non-essential businesses were ordered to shut. People were encouraged to stay home.

The MCO proved to be effective, as Malaysia saw the number of Covid-19 cases dropped.

Thereafter on 4 May, a conditional MCO was implemented, whereby certain controls were lifted. Daycare centres, hair salons, beauty parlours, open markets and night markets were allowed to reopen.

In other words, if you think about it, it’s not something shocking; it’s just that unlike Singapore whereby we didn’t set any deadline for our Phases, Malaysia did and so, they had to extend the deadlines.

Featured Image: NAUFAL ZAQUAN / Shutterstock.com


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