Don’t Balik Kampung (Go home to your village)

The Movement Control Order or Mass Travel Restriction in Malaysia comes into force tomorrow. The Restriction seems to be limited to international Border travel and not domestic ones. The Order also involves the closing of all business premises except those that offer essential services. This sudden two-week unexpected off work or school may seem like a holiday similar to the Hari Raya Puasa or Chinese New Year holidays. IT IS NOT! This is a desperate measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We are in an emergency situation.

To this end, the Government has decided to implement the Movement Control Order, from March 18, 2020, the day after March 31, 2020, throughout the country. This control order is made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967. This Movement Control Order includes;

First, the general prohibition of mass movements and gatherings across the country including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. To enforce this prohibition, all houses of worship and business premises must be closed except for supermarkets, public markets, convenience stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities. Specifically for Muslims, the adjournment of all religious activities in mosques and mosques including Friday prayers is in line with the decision of the Special Mental Health Committee meeting on March 15, 2020.

Secondly, the sanctions cover all Malaysians traveling abroad. For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to do a quarantine (or self quarantine) for 14 days;

Third, restrictions on the entry of all tourists and foreign visitors into the country;

Fourth, closure of all kindergartens, government and private schools including daily schools, boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centers and other primary, secondary and pre-university institutions;

Fifth, the closure of all public and private higher education institutions (IPTs) and skills training institutes nationwide; and

Sixth, the closure of all government and private premises except those involved in essential services (water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defense, cleaning, retail and food supply.

Malaysians love to travel and this may seem like our festival period and so may be tempted to go back to our hometown or balik kampung. Please reconsider. You or your family or friends may be infected with the virus or are carriers (there are still a lot we do not know about this virus. Are children carriers?). If you balik kampung now, you may be spreading the virus and placing your elderly loved ones at risk. So think twice before you pack up your car and go.


Self Quarantine

If you are reaching or have reached your kampung/parent’s house/family, self-quarantine for 7 days even if you do not have any symptoms or contact with infected people
– stay in your room and do not come out
– have your food placed outside your door
– use separate bowls, plates
– wash eating utensils with hot water
– wash your clothes separately
– use a separate toilet
– pray

Do not spread COVID-19 to your loved ones. The elderly are at very high risk.