Here Are the Differences Between M’sia’s MCO & S’pore’s Circuit Breaker Measures


Last Updated on 2020-04-10 , 10:52 pm

Fancy names have been given on the new measures made by various government, and while it’s easy to say that these are essentially “lockdown”, it technically isn’t.

The real definition of “lockdown” is when all non-essential businesses are shut down, and even roads and public transport are closed, too. That happened in Wuhan, which is surprising the safest place on planet Earth now.

Of course, in Singapore, we can still go out to buy food and even exercise in uncrowded area, so technically speaking, we’re this:


You’d have known what major measures have been implemented in Singapore, but how does that compare to our closest neighbour’s measures, considering that we’re same-same but different?

Here’s a comparison because we Singaproeans and Malaysians have always like to compare.

And by the way, if a Malaysian is reading this, please note that our nasi lemak is still better than yours. You dare then you swim in to Singapore to find me to beat me up lah.

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But before anything…

Malaysia’s Enhanced Movement Control Order

Les you didn’t know, on 27 March 2020, Malaysia “levelled up” their MCO.

Yes, here’s a cat hoping that Singapore wouldn’t turn off more Circuit Breakers in our circuit board box:

Image: gfycat

The enhanced measures add more rules to specific areas that have large clusters, so we’re not going to focus on that.


Instead, we’re focusing on the general MCO.

Movement of People

Image: Torque Singapore

Over in Singapore, all social gatherings of any size aren’t allowed, and everyone is advised to stay at home. People can’t dine in eateries as well, and are advised to limit social contact only to immediate family members. Our PM told us to stay in contact with extended family members and friends with calls or video-calls instead—or even snail mail because SingPost is still working. I’m not sure if he’s joking.

Over in Malaysia, the same rules apply, but with a tad more restrictions: one cannot travel further than 10km to somewhere else to buy daily essentials, and people can only come out as an individual unless it’s reasonably necessary.

Not a bad idea for introverts but anyway.

Over in Malaysia, there would be officers patrolling the streets to ensure that people stay at home. Roadblocks are also set up since people in Malaysia primarily commute through driving (not many would just walk to an eatery), and anyone without any valid reason to be out in the streets would be asked to go back home. If the person refused or even get aggressive, they’d arrest the person. As of last Thursday, 4,189 arrests have been made.

So far, there’s been no mention of whether police officers would be deployed to ensure we comply with the rules, but there would be social distancing ambassadors around the island to ensure that we keep a safe distance.


Image: tristan tan / (Image for illustration purpose only)

In Singapore, public transport and private transport will still go on as usual, though I’m expecting ghost towns in each bus.

Over in Malaysia, it’s the same except that from 1 April onwards, taxis and PHVs can only operate from 6am to 10pm. For public transport, it’ll be from 6am to 10am, and 5pm to 10pm.

But honestly speaking, if you’re in Malaysia, you won’t care much about public transport.

Closure of Businesses

Image: Entrepreneur

Let’s face it: when the “lockdown” ends, many businesses would end forever, too.


I mean, imagine you own a KTV chain and are now forced to close it for more than a month now. It’s every businesses for every business now, so that temporarily closure might be a permanent closure.

But some would prevail and even grow: those that provide essential services.

Just ask any toilet paper manufacturer.

In Singapore, most workplaces would close unless they’re essential. You’d actually be shocked at what essential means; just check out this article and you’d understand.

Yes, barber shops can still be opened, so you won’t have an excuse to look like F4 members on 4 May 2020.


Over in Malaysia, it’s the same but of course there would be some differences on what is considered “essential” for borderline businesses.


Nevertheless, the approach is similar: essential businesses remain open. Non-essential ones would close.

So yes, you’d still have to pay your bills.

Closure of Schools

Image: Facebook (Ong Ye Kung)

This is one that’s almost exactly the same (in fact, everywhere): All schools would be closed.

The only difference? We Singaporeans are so kiasu that we’ve home-based learning for students. Because going through one month without practising Algebra is just completely unacceptable.

Same Same But Different

So as you can probably tell, it’s almost the same except for some minor differences.


We all have Malaysian friends, and if you really want to know how your life’s going to change from 7 April 2020 onwards, just call your Malaysian friends.

I think they’re so bored, they’d be more than willing to entertain you.

And one thing’s for sure: video streaming services are set to be of lower quality soon. So time to say goodbye to your 4K videos.