KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The sale of non-essential goods in supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores is allowed, the National Security Council (NSC) clarified today amid uproar on social media.

Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported NSC director-general Datuk Mohd Rabin Basir affirming the matter when contacted.

“Based on our previous decision, we allow grocery stores and convenience stores to sell any goods saleable in the stores, therefore this is not an issue.

“Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be issuing a statement on this,” he was quoted as saying.


As for businesses that have been fined following the confusion which arose, Mohd Rabin admitted there may have been a misunderstanding before stating that their cases may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The clarification comes after Malaysians shared pictures on social media over the weekend showing off sections of supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores taping off shelves displaying items like stationery and hair dyes considered non-essential.

Local pharmacy chain Caring Pharmacy said it had temporarily suspended the sale of items such as hair dye and hair gel during the total lockdown phase of the movement control order, in order to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by the government as Covid-19 precautionary measures.


The NSC’s SOP updated on June 2 had stated that supermarkets, hypermarkets, pharmacies, self-care stores, convenience stores and mini marts and departmental stores are “limited to food, beverages and essential needs sections only”, but did not specify what may or may not fall under the “essential needs” category.

For online shopping, the SOPs had listed “e-commerce (all product categories)” as an essential service allowed to operate throughout the total lockdown, which suggests there is no limit to the type of items purchasable online.