Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 In Malaysia

Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 In Malaysia

It’s official – the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is now a global pandemic. The situation in Malaysia took a bleaker turn in the past week, with the number of cases spiking and the restriction movement order kicking in.

Here’s what you need to how the virus is affecting us so far:

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How many cases are there in Malaysia?

The number of cases swelled over the past few week in Malaysia. Here’s where we currently stand:

Total cases
Deaths
2,626
37

Last updated: March 31, 2020

What is the restricted movement order?

As part of a social distancing measure, the government announced a Movement Control Order (MCO) on Monday until April 14.

In short, the restriction bans mass gatherings and overseas travel. All educational institutions, businesses and premises will be closed – except those involved in essential services. If you have any questions about the restriction, the National Security Council has released a FAQ here.

And, according to the federal gazette released on March 18, you are not allowed to go out (even within states) unless you need to:

  • perform an official duty
  • visit a premise that is considered an ‘essential service’
  • purchase, supply or deliver food or daily necessities
  • seek healthcare or medical services

According to a senior minister, only one representative of a family can go out to purchase daily necessities. If you don’t follow these restrictions, you could face an RM1,000 fine, or up to six months’ jail, or both.

What businesses and premises are still operating?

Essential services are still allowed to remain open during this 14-day period. These include banking, electricity, fire, ports, docks, airports, the post, prisons, lubricants, healthcare, solid waste management, sewerage, broadcasting, telecommunications, transport, water, e-commerce, defence, food, wildlife, immigration, customs, hotels and accommodations.

This means that many of the everyday services you rely on will still be open throughout these two weeks. For example, restaurants and eateries will still be open, but only for takeout and deliveries. Supermarkets and groceries will also be open, both for physical and online shopping. Grab services are operating as usual too.

Some businesses are also implementing additional measures to help Malaysians during this time:

BusinessMeasureValid until
AstroFree access to all movie channels to its customers

Complimentary viewing of 22 channels on Astro Go to all Malaysians
March 31
CelcomFree unlimited access to WhatsApp chat, voice- and video-call for all postpaid and Celcom Xpax prepaid customers from 8 am to 6 pmMarch 31
DelivereatFree Delivery via Touch ‘n Go eWallet with no minimum order (T&Cs apply)Jan 5, 2021
DigiPostpaid and postpaid broadband customers can redeem additional 1GB internet data daily; can be used between 8am and 6pmMarch 31
DoctorOnCallFree online consultation especially on COVID 19Ongoing
FoodPanda- Contactless delivery to minimise human contact
- 50% discount for new users: Promo Code : Newpanda.
- 30% discount for existing users : Promo Code : Pandapal
Ongoing
GrabContactless delivery to minimise human contactOngoing
iFlixOne-month free VIP code for all MalaysiansMarch 31
Jaya Grocer, MydinOperating half an hour earlier to allow elderly and vulnerable customers shop for groceriesOngoing
Lazada“Keep Calm and Shop from Home” campaign along with free shippingOngoing
MaxisPostpaid and prepaid customers enjoy free data when connecting to certain news sitesOngoing
MrSpeedy MalaysiaPromo code: “SPEEDY20” for 20% offOngoing
NaluriFree full access for two weeks and the option to continue at a discounted rate of RM150/month thereafterOngoing
Tune TalkExtra 20% credit on reloadsMarch 31
U MobileDouble hotspot data for certain plansApril 14, or until end of MCO
Free daily 1GB high-speed data for customers to use 8am - 6pm dailyApril 1 to 14, or until end of MCO
Unifi- Free access to all Unifi TV channels for Unifi customers
- 999GB free LTE hotspot pass for mobile postpaid unlimited customers
March 31
YTLFree Yes 4G SIM with 40GB for schoolchildren and free access to learning platform FrogAsiaTwo months from activation
Citi Cash Back Card

Citi Cash Back Card

Earn up to 10% cashback on groceries, petrol and Grab rides

Unlimited 0.2% cash back on other retail spend

What’s happening to the stock market?

The Bursa has sunk to its lowest in a decade, falling 20.52% since the start of the year.

Airlines were among some of the most battered stocks this year. AirAsia Group Bhd’s stock plummeted 63% since the start of January, while Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd fell 39% in the same period.

Other blue chips were not spared. Public Bank, a stock that has been long-perceived to be relatively stable, fell 29% year to date. Even consumer stocks like Nestle fell 7%, while Carlsberg fell 34%.

The few gainers during the global virus outbreak include healthcare stocks, especially glove manufacturers. Since the start of the year, Top Glove Corp Bhd has rose 31%, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd soared 16% and Hartalega rose 22%.

How does COVID-19 affect workers?

News of tighter border controls led many Malaysians working in Singapore to head home to Johor Bahru so that they could collect their belongings and return to work in Singapore. Some workers have had to spend the night in MRT stations, although the Singaporean government and some employers are looking for ways to provide accommodation to Malaysian workers. The Johor state government hopes to reopen borders with the island state.

Back in Malaysia, with the restricted movement order in place, many employees are working from home. Employees who can’t perform their jobs remotely – or working in sectors badly affected by the virus outbreak – have been asked (or forced) to take unpaid leave. However, the Humans Resources Ministry has announced that workers are entitled to their salaries throughout the restriction movement order.The prime minister also announced a RM600 monthly cash assistance (up to six months) to help workers who are forced to take unpaid leave.

Which banks are offering loan repayments moratorium?

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has put a six-month moratorium on the repayment of personal loans and financing. This means that all banks will offer an automatic postponement of loan payments of six months.

Here’s what you have to know about this initiative:

  • Eligibility. Only applies to ringgit-denominated loans that are not in default exceeding 90 days as at April 1. Does not apply to credit card debt.
  • Automatic. You do not have to apply for this, as it is automatic. If you do not want to defer your loan payment, contact your bank.
  • Period. Until September 30, 2020.
  • Interest payments. No late payment interest or charges, but your interest charges may accrue (depending on your bank).
  • Credit score. This will not be classified under CCRIS as a loan deferment.

It’s important to note that your interest will still accrue during the moratorium period. While you may not have to pay anything now, you may end up paying more as your interest compounds over these six months.

So far, HSBC Bank, OCBC Bank and RHB Bank have announced that interest/profit will not be compounded for their conventional loans and Islamic financing during the moratorium period. This is applicable for retail and SME customers.

Prior to BNM’s announcement, banks have also declared other types of assistance for affected customers:

BankDate announcedAssistance
Affin Bank and Affin Islamic BankMarch 19● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling of financing facilities
● SME: special relief fund
AgrobankMarch 19SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing facilities
Alliance BankFebruary 13● Loan restructuring and rescheduling for up to six months
● Waiver of late charges for loans or financing
AmBankMarch 23SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
Bank IslamFebruary 11● Retail/SME: monthly instalment payments of financing of up to six months
CIMB Bank and CIMB Islamic BankMarch 18● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling financing programmes
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic BankMarch 19● Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling loans/financing will be considered
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
HSBC

Bank and HSBC Amanah
March 18SME: extension of trade loans/financing payment period for 30 days
Maybank and Maybank IslamicFebruary 11Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing
MBSB BankMarch 19● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling of financing
● SME: can apply for financing restructuring and rescheduling
Public Bank and Public Islamic BankMarch 19● Retail/SME: can apply for financing restructuring and rescheduling
OCBC Bank and OCBC Al Amin BankFebruary 13Retail/SME: provide relevant assistance to affected parties on a case-to-case basis
RHB Bank and RHB Islamic BankMarch 18Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing
SME BankMarch 16● SME: can apply for temporary relief
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
Standard Chartered and Standard Chartered SaadiqFebruary 13SME: can apply for interest-only payment option

To apply for a moratorium, restructuring or rescheduling of your loans, contact your bank by phone or visit their respective websites.

Alliance Bank CashFirst Personal Loan

Alliance Bank CashFirst Personal Loan

Combine your existing debt payments into a single monthly repayment

Interest rates start from 5.33% p.a.

Which insurance companies and takaful operators provide COVID-19 coverage or financial aid?

All insurance companies and takaful operators under the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) and Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) have confirmed that they will provide hospitalisation and treatment coverage for COVID-19 – but your policy may differ in terms of specific benefits, terms and conditions.

Here are the list of LIAM insurance and takaful operators providing COVID-19 coverage:

  • AIA Bhd
  • Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia Berhad
  • AmMetLife Insurance Berhad
  • AXA AFFIN Life Insurance Berhad
  • Etiqa Life Insurance Berhad
  • Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad
  • Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad
  • Hannover Rueck SE, Malaysian Branch
  • Hong Leong Assurance Berhad
  • Malaysian Life Reinsurance Group Berhad
  • Manulife Insurance Berhad
  • MCIS Insurance Berhad
  • Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad
  • Sun Life Malaysia Assurance Berhad
  • Tokio Marine Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd.
  • Zurich Life Insurance Malaysia Berhad

These insurance/takaful providers are also offering additional coverage for COVID-19, at no extra cost:

ProviderEligibilityBenefitsValid until
AIANew and existing individual Life, Family Takaful and Flex PA customers● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days
● Death benefit of RM10,000
June 30
Doctor, nurse or hospital staff● RM1,000 inconvenience allowance if diagnosed with COVID-19 when carrying out duties
● RM10,000 death benefit
June 30, or when RM2 mill fund is fully disbursed
AllianzPolicyholders and immediate family members● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day
● Death benefit of RM20,000
April 30
AmMetLifeIndividual and group policyholders● Death benefit of RM6,000April 30
MOH-registered frontline medical worker, regardless of AmMetLife coverage status● Death benefit of RM6,000April 30
AXA Affin Life InsuranceAll medical policies with hospitalisation Benefit rider● Cash payment equivalent to 14 days of hospitalisation benefit upon diagnosis
● One-time cash of RM3,000 to the immediate family of policyholder upon diagnosis
● A lump-sum of RM10,000 if the policyholder is isolated for COVID-19 while travelling to the Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu province of China
June 30
EtiqaExisting policyholders● RM5,000 payout upon diagnosisJune 30
Great EasternLife assured policyholders and their immediate family members (spouse and children up to age 18)● Death benefit of RM20,000
● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 60 days
December 31, or until exhaustion of RM1 mill financial assistance
Hong Leong AssuranceNew and existing customers with medical coverage● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 daysJune 30
ManulifeExisting policyholder● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days
● Death benefit of RM10,000 (additional RM5,000 if policyholder is a frontline medical staff)
June 30
MCIS InsuranceExisting individual policyholders● RM5,000 payout upon diagnosis
● Death benefit of RM10,000
April 30
PrudentialExisting individual policies/certificate Life Assured/Covered person● RM5,000 payout upon diagnosisApril 30
Sun Life MalaysiaPolicyholders of eligible individual hospital and surgical products● Hospitalisation benefit of RM100 per dayJune 30
Tokio MarineExisting individual life policyholders and their immediate family members (spouse and children up to age 21)● Death benefit of RM10,000 (additional RM10,000 if policy holder is a frontline medical staff)
● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days
June 30

What’s in the COVID-19 economic stimulus package?

The prime minister recently announced PRIHATIN Rakyat, an RM250 billion economic package to help cushion COVID-19’s economic impact. Here’s how it will affect you:

Insurance and takaful

  • An RM8 million fund will be set up by insurance and takaful providers to cover the screening costs at private hospitals or laboratories for policyholders, worth up to RM300

Doctors, nurses and other medical staff

  • Increase of monthly allowance from RM400 to RM600 starting April 1

Police, army, customs, RELA and other involved in carrying out MCO

  • RM200 monthly allowance starting April 1 until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic

Cash handouts for households

  • RM1,600 for households earning RM4,000 a month and below
  • RM1,000 for households earning between RM4,001 and RM8,000 a month
  • RM800 for singles aged 21 and above who earn RM2,000 a month and below
  • RM500 for singles aged 21 and above who earn between RM2,001 and RM4,000

Higher education students (including matriculation, community college, polytechnic, public universities and private universities)

  • RM200 one-off payment
  • PTPK loans: deferment of six months, from April 1 to September 30

B40:

  • Those under MySalam can claim RM50 per day for 14 days if receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19 or those under quarantine
  • Six-month rent exemption for PPR residents

Private Retirement Scheme (PRS)

  • Withdrawal of up to RM1,500 from Account B without incurring penalties from April to December 2020

Government buildings

  • Six-month rent exemption for government-owned buildings, including school canteens, day-care centres, and convenience stores

Electricity bill discount :

  • For residents using up to 600 kWH, applicable for six months from April
  • 50% discount for electricity usage below 200 kWH
  • 25% discount for electricity usage between 201 kWH and 300 kWH
  • 15% discount for electricity usage between 301 kWH and 600 kWH

Telecommunication

  • Free internet for all telecommunication service customers from April 1 until the end of MCO

Civil servants

  • RM500 one-off payment to civil servants grade 56 and below (include those on contract) in April 

Government retirees

  • RM500 one-off payment in April

E-hailing drivers:

  • RM500 one-off payment in April

What other types of financial aid are available for Malaysians affected by the outbreak?

The government has announced these measures to help Malaysians affected by the outbreak:

AidEligibilityPeriod
Income tax deadline extended by two monthsAll tax paying MalaysiansUntil June 30
Electricity bill discount of 2%Domestic users, as well as those in commercial, industrial and agriculture sectorsApril 30 – September 30
PTPTN loan repayment defermentPTPTN loan holdersUntil September 30
EPF withdrawal of up to RM500 from Account 2EPF members under 55Until March 2021
RM600 a monthWorkers forced to take unpaid leave from March 1 or contributors to the employee insurance scheme (EIS) earning below RM4,000 a monthUp to six months
RM100 a day under Bantuan Khas COVID-19- Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid during the Observation and Surveillance Order
- Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid while receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19
Ongoing
RM500 zakat from Federal Territories Islamic Religious CouncilEach asnaf person (those eligible to receive zakat) will receive RM500 in early April April
RM200 to RM500 from Lembaga Zakat SelangorMuslim applicants; Malaysian citizens or PR holders who have been staying in Selangor for at least three months; household income of below RM4,360; whose income was affected or lost due to the outbreakApril 6

How to apply for Bantuan Khas COVID-19

Eligible Malaysians can seek financial assistance of RM100 a day through the COVID-19 fund under the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA). Here’s how you apply for it.

Eligibility

1. Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid during the Observation and Surveillance Order

2. Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid while receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19

How to apply 

1. Download and fill in these application forms from NADMA:

  • Borang Permohonan Bantuan Khas Covid19 (Attachment A)
  • Borang Akuan Kehilangan Pendapatan (Attachment B)
  • Surat Perwakilan Kuasa Kepada Waris (Attachment C) *if you do not have a bank account

2. Attach these documents in your application:

  • IC (certified copy)
  • Ministry of Health documents (certified copies) – a copy of Borang Perintah Pengawasan Dan Pemerhatian Bagi Kontak Covid-19 if you are under quarantine; or a medical certificate provided by your hospital if you are undergoing treatment for COVID-19

3. Mail your completed application to:

Ketua Pengarah
Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA)
Jabatan Perdana Menteri
Aras 7, Blok D5, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
62502 PUTRAJAYA
(u.p. : Sekretariat KWABBN)

If you have been approved, the financial assistance will be electronically transferred to you 30 days from the date of your application.

How can you manage your budget during this time?

The next few weeks will be rough sailing for many Malaysians. On the personal finance side, now’s the time to review your contingency plan and look at your budget.

If you have been forced to go on unpaid leave, consider if (and how) you can afford to ride out the next two weeks or more. If you don’t have any emergency savings, try to cut out non-essential expenses – this will help stretch your budget for longer, until you can get back to work.

Reach out to your bank if you’re having trouble with loan repayments. Many banks have declared a temporary loan deferment for affected customers. Depending on your bank, you may be able to restructure or reschedule your loan. You can also consider applying for government financial aid or withdrawing from your EPF (but you should only do so if it’s an emergency – otherwise, you’d be taking out from your retirement savings).

If you already have a financial safety net in place, that’s great. Continue monitoring your budget and take steps to reduce your spending if needed. We’re not sure yet what the full effects of the coronavirus will be on our economy, so keeping your emergency fund in place could help cushion you if things get bad.

And if you can do so, consider giving financial help to those who need them. Organisations like Mercy Malaysia and World Vision Malaysia have set up specific funds in response to the pandemic, while platforms like #Kitajagakita offers resources for those who want to volunteer or offer financial help.

In the meantime, stay home and stay safe.

This article was first published on February 14, 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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