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Tourism Lockdown in Malaysia - All You Need To Know

Tourism Malaysia Lockdown Covid-19 Coronavirus

With the Malaysia lockdown taking effect on 18th March till 31st March 2020, there has been some confusion on what is open and what is closed in terms of tourism attractions and destinations. 

From what I have gathered in the last 48 hours, I am posting the information here for anyone who is still unsure of what the tourism lockdown in Malaysia is all about.

If you still have not heard about this, then you should know that the Malaysian government has imposed a 14-day Controlled Movement Order (CMO) or partial lockdown from March 18 to 31 nationwide. 

The objective of this Controlled Movement Order is to curb the spread of the Coronavirus or Covid-19 infection in Malaysia.

As of writing this today on the 18th March, there are 790 cases and two deaths in Malaysia related to the Coronavirus or Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Update 19th March: There are now 900 Covid-19 or Coronavirus cases in Malaysia as of 8.00 PM, 19th March 2020.

Update 19th March: Visit Malaysia Year 2020 Cancelled!

After posting this article, the Malaysia Tourism Minister has officially canceled the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign as of yesterday night.

Malaysia Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri quoted;
"The cancellation is with immediate effect and will involve the freezing of all over-the-counter and online services for the ministry’s Tourism Licensing Division."
What Tourism Locations are Closed for the Malaysia Lockdown?

Before we go into what is closed for the Malaysia lockdown, here are some important travel information that everyone should know about.

The decision for the nationwide partial lockdown was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

And there are three main guidelines to follow;
  1. All Malaysians will also be banned from traveling overseas during this 14-day period.
  2. Those who are returning from abroad must undergo health checks and self-quarantine for 14 days.
  3. All foreign tourists will be banned from entering the country during this time.
Below are some tourism questions for locals and also tourists who may be wondering what is actually going on or what to expect. 

Malaysia Legoland Closed
Legoland Malaysia posted a notice about their closure.
Tourist Places Closed for Malaysia Lockdown
  • All Museums under the Department of Museums Malaysia
  • All National Parks and Forest Reserves around Malaysia
  • All Public Parks in Kuala Lumpur
  • All Theme Parks around Malaysia
  • All Private and Commercial Tourist Attractions around Malaysia
  • Kuala Lumpur Craft Center
  • Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic)
  • National Visual Arts Development Board
  • National Heritage Department
  • National Archives of Malaysia
  • Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation
  • National Library of Malaysia
  • Department of Culture
  • Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre
  • Istana Budaya
Basically, all states around Malaysia has followed in closing all tourist attractions, from the government to the private sector. 

Anywhere you go during this time will only be a waste of time. Even the entire resort city of Genting Highlands is closed off. 

Malaysia Restriction Movement Order
The Restriction Movement Order for Malaysia.
Are Hotels and Resorts Opened During The Malaysia Lockdown? 

Yes, all hotels and resorts can remain open during the Controlled Movement Order (CMO) or nationwide partial lockdown in Malaysia.

Previously, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) had mentioned that hotels may only continue serving existing guests. All other facilities and services of the hotels and resorts are to remain closed.

Due to some confusion about what essential services are, the government has changed this on the 18th March to include hotels under the essential services in Malaysia.

According to the Malaysian Reserve, there has been slightly over 170,000 hotel room cancellations totaling to a whopping RM68 million in losses impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Update 19th March: The Malaysian hotelier's group has confirmed that hotels and resorts can operate partially during the lockdown in Malaysia

KLIA Covid-19 Coronavirus
KLIA empty.
Can I Travel Locally For Holidays? 

No, you cannot. Under the CMO, the public is prohibited from traveling anywhere including holidays around the country. You are advised not to proceed with your holiday or 'Balik Kampung'

The Malaysian Police has issued a live telecast of this on the 17th March restricting locals from moving interstate for 'Balik Kampung' or any other kinds of trips or holidays. 

The police issued a special travel form available at local police stations nationwide and if anyone needed to travel, they are required to fill in this form to be approved. 

Sabah Tourist Attractions Closed
A closure notice from Sabah Parks.
Are Tourism Events in Malaysia Canceled? 

All tourism events and related events are immediately canceled nationwide as of the announcement made on 16th March 2020.

This means that any tourism event in any part of Malaysia has been canceled or postponed to an indefinite date.

Can Tourist Still Visit Malaysia During The Lockdown?

No, tourists and visitors are not permitted to enter Malaysia from the 18th till the 31st of March and this is a directive by the Malaysian Federal Government. 

There is an exception for diplomats, permanent residents, and expatriates in essential services with a 14-day quarantine period on a case-by-case basis.

In the event the situation gets out of hand, the Prime Minister has mentioned in his speech that the government can and will extend the CMO for another two weeks.

This means that the CMO will move into the first 2 weeks of April 2020. I suggest that anyone planning to visit Malaysia should monitor the situation before making any future plans. 

Malaysia Lonely Tourist
A lonely tourist is seen walking the streets.
What About Tourists Who Are Still In Malaysia?

Currently, all tourist attractions are closed, and for tourists who are still in Malaysia, you are not forced to leave. 

However, you must respect the CMO and stay in your hotel or accommodation until you depart or leave Malaysia. 

This will, of course, be an inconvenience and a bad experience, but it is being done for the good of everyone.

Visit Malaysia 2020 Arrivals Target

Before I conclude, the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia had early in March announced that the target number of 30 million visitors will remain, even during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Honestly, coming from a tourism background, I do not see this happening, and it would be wise for Tourism Malaysia to change that number by at least half.

Update 19th March: The Visit Malaysia Year 2020 has been officially canceled by the new Tourism Minister as of today. 

Covid-19 Sunway Lagoon Coronavirus
A message from Sunway Lagoon, one of Malaysia's largest theme and water park.

If you have been planning to visit Malaysia in March 2020, it is very unfortunate that the government has imposed a restriction movement order and is on partial lockdown.

I know for a fact that there are several travelers who are taking advantage of various discounted airline tickets and packages being offered during this pandemic. 

Most likely your flight has been canceled otherwise, if you do manage to get a flight into Malaysia, you will be denied entry into the country. You may want to rearrange your plans to visit Malaysia.

I will do my best to update the information for the Tourism lockdown in Malaysia on a daily basis since I am too on lockdown.

Meanwhile, be safe, avoid crowded places, don't keep touching your face and remember to wash your hands always.