Malaysian Government has issued a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) that is effective from 18th March 2020, which has been extended until 12th May aiming to arrest the spread of public health risks due to COVID-19 outbreak.
The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) had warned that anyone violating MCO regulations would be subjected to various penalties under the Penal Code. The Attorney General released a federal gazette specific to the control order, where violations could be subjected to a penalty of up to RM1,000 and/or up to six months in prison for anyone disobeying the order. Malaysian Senior Minister further added that if the penalties were ineffective on reducing MCO violations, offenders will be arrested and remanded instead.
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Companies that do not provide “essential service” are required to temporarily close its business operations and premises during the MCO period. However, despite the closure of business operations and premises, some businesses might still continue to operate remotely with some adjustments. The Human Resources Ministry has listed the adjustments below for HR and employers to implement.
- Employers have to pay workers’ wages during the extension period. Workers wages and fixed allowances must be paid except if the allowances are related to employees’ attendance or travel.
- Retrenchment as a means to down-size due to excess of employees is generally accepted. However, employers must be genuine in their actions and act fairly. Employers are also bound by guidelines and regulations to the retrenchment, and must report to the Manpower Department 30 days before implementation of retrenchment.
- If employees are tested positive, employers must order the infected person to self-quarantine at home for 14-days and employers must give paid leave and cannot deduct the infected employee’s annual leave. Employers also cannot force employees to go on unpaid leave.
- Employers cannot force employees to take annual leave because annual leave has to be made at the request of the employee.
- Employers can instruct their employees to work from home. An employer can take disciplinary action against employees who defy the ruling.
- There are four conditions for employees to assume that there has been a breach of contract or if their services terminated as constructive dismissal. The four conditions are a) There is a breach of the service contract, b) The breach must involve the root of the contract, c) An employee must inform and give time to the employer to make right on the breach of the contract, and d) An employee must have left the job based on the breach of contract and not because of any other reasons.
- An employee can lodge reports with the police, Rela and Human Resource Ministry or seek further inquiry if the employer flouts the MCO. The Royal Malaysian Police and Rela have been appointed officers that are given powers under Section 3 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342). The inquiry can be submitted to email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com or via a telephone: 03-8889 2359 / 8890 3404 / 8886 2409 / 8886 2352 or 888 9111.
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