Malaysia Steps Up Domestic Travel Restrictions

Crossing state or district boundaries for non-work-related reasons is now banned until June 6.

The Langkawi Sky Bridge atop Gunung Mat Chinchang. (Photo: Ryan Chu/Unsplash)

As Malaysia continues to grapple with a surge of coronavirus cases, new measures are being imposed just before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, one of the biggest holidays of the year. The current interstate travel ban, aimed at preventing the yearly exodus from the cities ahead of Hari Raya, has been expanded to stop people from traveling even within the same state. Under a new rule that took effect earlier today, inter-district journeys are now prohibited nationwide until June 6. The Straits Times reports that hundreds of motorists trying to cross state boundaries were turned back at police checkpoints over the weekend, and says it is the first time that inter-district travel and gatherings were both banned across the country since March 2020.

Some areas face additional Covid-19 restrictions on top of the nationwide travel curbs. Kuala Lumpur is under a partial lockdown or Movement Control Order (MCO) until May 20, with entertainment venues, spas, and sports facilities closed, and eateries only allowed to offer takeout and delivery services. The MCO will also be enforced in six densely populated districts in the surrounding state of Selangor for another seven days.

Police permission will be required to cross both district and state boundaries, and those traveling for work reasons will have to present letters from their employer and the International Trade and Industry Ministry. Public and private social gatherings, including weddings and Open House events for Hari Raya, are also prohibited during this period. Malaysia recorded 3,807 newly confirmed cases of Covid-19 today, marking the second consecutive day of more than 3,000 infections. This figure brings the country’s cumulative total to 444,484 cases.

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