KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — The government’s latest list of essential services allowed to operate has been streamlined even further to specific services, after more than a week of the movement control order (MCO) this year. 

The latest update of the MCO regulations gazetted on January 21 and published on the Federal Government Gazette’s website lists 52 items under essential services, instead of 50 items in the January 15 gazette.

Here’s what has changed in the latest list of essential services that can operate during MCO 2.0:

•           Internet, postal, courier, broadcasting, call centre now specified


In the January 15 list (old), telecommunications and information technology were grouped together as item 28, but this category of services has been made more detailed in the latest January 21 list (new) by splitting them into item 28 and item 29 and adding new specific services such as call centres and internet services.

Old: 28. Telecommunication and digital infrastructures including information and communication technology services and global business services 

New: 28. Communications including telecommunications and internet, postal and courier, and broadcasting


29. Information technology including global business services and call centre

•           Slight change for e-commerce detail

The new list includes a slight tweak to the old list in the e-commerce item. 

Old: 29. E-commerce including e-marketplace, digital payment and local e-commerce internet centre services 

New: 30:  E-commerce including e-marketplace, digital payment and local e-commerce services centre  

•           New category added on

This item was not mentioned in the old list. 

New: 31. Digital creative content development in studio including film editing 

Both the old and new lists contain a catch-all phrase of “Any service, work, industry of business as determined by the Minister of Health after consulting the authority that regulates the services, work, industry and business”, which essentially means that any businesses not included in the gazetted list of essential services may still be allowed to operate if the health minister decides that they can operate. 

The new gazetted list takes effect on January 22 (today), and applies to the whole of Malaysia except Sarawak — Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Selangor, Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan — until February 2 which is when MCO is due to end. The new list also applies to Sibu in Sarawak where the MCO is scheduled to end January 29. 

This is not the first time that the government has made changes to the list of essential services allowed to operate during MCO 2.0. 

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry had on January 12 afternoon released a list of essential services for MCO 2.0 that included automotive manufacturing and after-sales services, but updated the list the same evening by removing that exemption and only listing automotive repair and maintenance as an essential service. 

The government in MCO regulations gazetted on January 12 listed the manufacturing and production of “automotive equipment” as an essential service but did not include automotive repair and maintenance. 

The January 15 gazetted list of essential services updated this to be the manufacturing and production of “automotive (vehicles and components)” instead of the “automotive equipment” previously listed, while also adding “automotive (maintenance and repair)” as a separate business under the services category that is allowed to continue to operate. 

The changes in the list of essential services had resulted in carmakers Hondo, Toyota and Perodua briefly stopping activities in their factories in Malaysia, before resuming operations again. 

Where to get the latest information

If you are a business owner and want to know about the latest rules, guidelines, standard operating procedures or frequently-asked questions issued by Miti, there is a dedicated section on the ministry’s website with such MCO-related information (https://www.miti.gov.my/redir/pkp/pkp.html ). 

However when Malay Mail visited the Miti website section dedicated to MCO information at around noon today, various editions — both old and new — of the list of essential services were found on the website. 

This dedicated section has six sections: Media release, FAQs, SOPs and gazette, infographic, CIMS 3.0 tutorial video, and email enquiry. 

The FAQ document in the FAQ section which was issued on January 12 by Miti in Bahasa Malaysia, comes with a list of essential services written in Bahasa Malaysia dated January 12. 

In the media release section, a media release in English and issued on January 12 comes with a list of essential services written in English which was updated as of January 16 and sourced from the January 15 gazetted list. 

The infographics section of the site carries two sets of slides or infographics — one in Bahasa Malaysia and another in English — on the list of essential services, with this based also on the January 15 gazetted list.

Also included in the infographics section is a set of slides dated January 20 of the list of 16 businesses allowed by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) to operate during the MCO, with this list written in Bahasa Malaysia: Shopping complexes or malls, supermarkets and hypermarkets, departmental stores, pharmacies or selling of personal care products, convenience stores or mini marts, laundry shops (not including self-service laundromats), restaurants, furniture stores, jewellery shops, electrics and electronics stores, bookshops and stationery shops, hardware stores, pet food, vehicle workshops or maintenance or spare parts, vehicle sales and distribution centres, speciality retail stores at petrol stations. 

(On January 12, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob when announcing the government’s rules for areas under MCO had said that laundry shops except for self-service laundromats will be allowed to operate from 6am to 8pm. Following public complaints, Ismail Sabri however on January 14 said self-service laundromats will also be allowed to operate during MCO, with the condition that a worker is present to ensure physical distancing and check customers’ body temperature. Although optometrists were not included in KPDNHEP’s initial list, the government on January 15 confirmed that they were now allowed by the KPDNHEP to open during MCO based on tighter SOPs.)  

In the SOPs and gazette section on Miti’s MCO site, clicking on the federal gazette would lead to the latest January 21 government gazette containing the latest list of essential services, while the SOPs posted is also the latest National Security Council’s general SOPs for MCO areas which is dated January 21. 

As of noon, Miti’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have yet to post information regarding the updated details in the gazetted list of essential services allowed to operate. 



As for Sarawak (except for Sibu) which is under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) until January 31, the latest CMCO regulations gazetted by the federal government on January 21 maintains the list of prohibited activities that had been in use in previous editions of CMCO rules.

The list of prohibited activities under CMCO are: Outbound tour activities by Malaysians and inbound tour activities involving foreign tourists except foreign tourists from countries specified by the health minister, activities in pubs and nightclubs except for restaurant business in pubs and nightclubs, and any activity with many people attending at a place which makes it difficult to carry out physical distancing and to comply with the health director-general’s directions.