The Malaysian Government is very keen to re-open trade to its pre-pandemic levels. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unexpectedly announced the easing of lockdown restrictions in the Movement Control Order, effective until 9 June. The change, now a "Conditional Movement Control Order", allows almost all economic sectors to open, with conditions.
The move came as a surprise to many, with confusion around the new rules. Public opinion on the shift is mixed, with some locals concerned the move is premature, while others have been out on the streets celebrating the end of what has been a very strict stay at home order.
However, nine of the thirteen Malaysian states, announced that they would not implement the changes, or would only do so with caveats, concerned by the current level of virus control. There are no changes to Malaysia's border settings at this stage and inter-state travel within the country remains restricted.
During a press conference on 4 May, the Defence Minister, and co-chair of the special Cabinet Committee overseeing the Malaysian Government's COVID-19 response, Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, announced that as part of the reopening, businesses would be required to test all foreign workers for COVID-19 at their own expense.
This announcement will impact on New Zealand businesses operating in Malaysia. However, it is unclear how businesses will achieve this, given the significant number of foreign workers in Malaysia and current testing capacity.
From 1 June, all people entering Malaysia will bear the cost of mandatory quarantine and are to sign a letter agreeing to pay before they may commence their travel. Malaysians are required to pay half the cost of quarantine services while non-citizens, including spouses and family members of Malaysian citizens, will pay the full cost.
The Government of Malaysia has developed a COVID-19 self-monitoring app for citizens (MySejahtera). This app is directly linked to the local health services and can assist Malaysians to connect to the right health services at the right time.