COVID-19: Malaysia under Nationwide Movement Control Order

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has declared that Malaysia will be placed under nationwide movement control order from March 18 to March 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The order, the first in the country’s history, was announced by the prime minister in a live broadcast over national television last night. A total of 125 new positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported as of yesterday, bringing the total in Malaysia to 553 cases. “The order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967,” he said. With the enforcement of this order, all houses of worship and business premises should be closed, except for supermarkets, wet markets, grocery shops and convenience stores selling daily necessities. All schools, educational institutions, and skills training institutions should be closed during the same period. For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to self-quarantine for 14 days. The restriction also covers the entry of all foreign tourists and visitors into the country, he said. Muhyiddin also said all government and private premises would be closed, except for those providing essential services. The prime minister also gave an assurance that food supplies, daily essentials and healthcare, including items such as face masks were sufficient. (Bernama)

PM: Workers forced to take unpaid leave to receive cash assistance of RM600 a month

The revised economic stimulus package under the Perikatan Nasional government will have additional benefits for employees who are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. An Economic Action Council (EAC) meeting had decided to provide financial assistance to employees who are forced to take unpaid leave. Employees who are affected will receive financial assistance of RM600 each month for a maximum period of six months, said Muhyiddin. Workers who are given notice to take unpaid leave beginning March 1 will be eligible for the financial assistance. Affected employees with salaries under RM4,000 a month are also allowed to withdraw from the Employee Insurance System (EIS). Meanwhile, the RM200 payment for Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients will be brought forward to March 16 from its initial date in May. The government has also decided to give a 2% discount to all power consumers in commercial, industrial and agriculture as well as domestic sectors, which will take effect for a period of six months beginning April 1 to Sept 30. (The Star Online)

Singapore to stay in touch with Malaysia as it goes under movement order

Singapore will continue to stay in touch with Malaysia as it goes under a movement control order to see how the situation evolves, the republic’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said. “Our priority is to ensure that our people and our businesses are able to continue with their lives and their livelihoods,” he said in response to Malaysia’s two-week movement control. Chan advised businesses that employ Malaysian workers, who commute between Singapore and Malaysia daily, that they may have to activate their Business Continuity Plans. Singapore had earlier announced new border restrictions on travellers, including those from ASEAN. Special considerations have been put in place for Malaysia because of the close proximity and high interdependency between both countries. (Bernama)

New petroleum company FIVE to open its first kiosk soon

A new petroleum company, FIVE Petroleum Malaysia Sdn Bhd (FIVE) is set to open its first petrol station in Kalumpang, Selangor this month, its chairman Datuk Juhari Abdul Ghani said. He said FIVE has secured a supply contract from Petronas as its fuel supplier to ensure that its fuel offering meets the highest quality standard. Using the brand name Ultimaxx, FIVE aims to keep its brand promise of providing more economical and convenient high quality fuel, he added. FIVE will be managed by the same team that built Seng Group, a leader in the petrol retail business for nearly five decades. The group also supplies and manages distribution services to petrol station operators, as well as constructing new stations. Juhari said as part of the digital movement in Malaysia, FIVE petrol stations will feature a new mobile application that facilitates cashless payment. (Bernama)

(Source: Bernama)

Virus could bankrupt most airlines by end of May

The coronavirus pandemic will bankrupt most airlines worldwide by the end of May unless governments and the industry take coordinated steps to avoid such a situation, an aviation consultant warned. Many airlines have probably been driven into technical bankruptcy or substantially breached debt covenants already, Sydney-based consultancy CAPA Centre for Aviation warned in a statement. Carriers are depleting cash reserves quickly because their planes are grounded and those that aren’t are flying more than half empty, it said. “Coordinated government and industry action is needed – now – if catastrophe is to be avoided, ” CAPA said. Most of the biggest carriers in the US, China and Middle East are likely to survive because of government help or support from their owners. Airlines have been among the biggest corporate casualties of the virus outbreak as the coronavirus grinds air traffic to a halt. Carriers could face as much as US$113 billion in lost revenue this year, according to the International Air Transport Association. (The Star Online)