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Tawhidic Approach of managing crisis with “unprecedented situation deals with
unprecedented measures”: The Case Movement Control Order on Coronavirus Disease 19
(COVID-19) in Malaysia
Suhaimi Mhd Sarif
International Islamic University Malaysia
Sri Khaldun Sdn Bhd
This study explores the management of crisis with “unprecedented situation deals with
unprecedented measures” in the context of Movement Control Order on Corona Virus Disease
(COVID-19) in Malaysia. The situation is very new (unprecedented) but it has severe impact to
the people. Malaysia has taken necessary action to prevent the pandemic. The movement control
to isolate the source of the coronavirus has shown encouraging results, but there is a need to
enhance the movement control for the safety of the people.
Keywords: Crisis management; COVID-19; Health management; Malaysia
The world is facing a global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19). The impact at
global level is very severe with 783,360 confirmed cases, 37,203 confirmed deaths at 206
countries (including areas and territories). Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) is an infectious
disease caused by new coronavirus. Most people who were infected with this disease had
experienced difficulties in breathing. Those are vulnerable to this disease are older people with
underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, severe respiratory disease,
and cancer. WHO is trying with some treatments for covid-19 due to no specific vaccines or
People are reminded to practice prevention measure such as having social distancing, regular
hands washing with soap and water, avoid touching face, cover mouth and nose with mask when
in the public, and avoid unnecessary travel and more importantly to stay at home.
The common symptom of this disease includes fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Other symptoms
could be shortness of breath, aches, pains, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea, runny nose. Those with
mild symptoms and healthy are advised to self-isolate and contact the medical provide to provide
WHO started to have situation reports on covid-19 starting on 21 January 2020.
Malaysia has taken preventive action through Movement Control Order (MCO) in 18 March
2020 through Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.
According to Ahmad (2020), Malaysia used to enforce this law in 2010 to prevent the malaria
The main objective of the MCO is to isolate the source of the coronavirus pandemic. The
methods of prevention or isolating the source of coronavirus pandemic include prohibition of
movement and mass assembly nationwide, including all religious, sports, social and cultural
activities; suspension of all religious activities in mosques including Friday prayers; prohibition
of leaving the country while restrictions placed on the entry of non-Malaysians into Malaysia;
the closure of all premises and buildings except for infrastructure services and supermarkets, wet
market, grocery stores and multi-functional stores selling daily necessities; the closure of all
nurseries, government and private schools, including boarding schools, international schools,
tahfiz centres as well as primary, secondary and pre-university education institutions; as well as
public, private universities and vocational training.
Malaysia has the ability to cater for the disease. Currently, there are 28 hospitals under the
Ministry of Health Malaysia in Malaysia are specialized on the covid-19 treatment.
MOH is handling two types of COVID-19 1. Firstly, Persons Under Investigation (PUI) of
COVID-19 is defined as those who are suffering from acute respiratory infection (sudden onset
of respiratory infection with at least one of: shortness of breath, cough or sore throat) with or
without fever and had travelled to / resided in foreign country within 14 days before the onset of
illness OR Close contact1 in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19
OR Attended an event associated with known COVID-19 outbreak.
Close contacts include health care associated exposure without appropriate PPE (including
providing direct care for COVID-19 patients, working with health care workers infected with
COVID-19, visiting patients or staying in the same close environment of a COVID19 patient;
working together in close proximity or sharing the same classroom environment with a with
COVID-19 patient; Traveling together with COVID-19 patient in any kind of conveyance, and
living in the same household as a COVID-19 patient. Secondly, confirmed Case of COVID-19 is
referred to a person with laboratory confirmation of infection with the COVID-19.
Ministry of Health of Malaysia received new cases of covid-19 through 10-31 March 2020
including during the phase 1 Movement Control Order (18-31 March 2020). Statistically, the
new cases are on increasing trend. The curve is rather heightening instead of flattening.
Nevertheless, the statistics on discharged and treated well from covid-19 is also encouraging.
COVID-19 SITUATION IN MALAYSIA
Based on the Ministry of Health Malaysia situation report on 31 March 2020, there have been a
total of 2,788 cases, with 140 new cases on 31 March 2020, 2,186 cases under treatment and 537
cases have been discharged. Sadly, death cases have reached 43.
In terms of test or screening on covid-19, the Ministry had conducted screening on 40,483
individuals with 29,498 are negative (means no covid-19), but have been advised to self-isolate
from the public. 2,766 cases are confirmed positive under the treatment at various health
As mentioned by WHO, most people who were infected with this disease had experienced
difficulties in breathing. Those are vulnerable to this disease are older people with underlying
medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, severe respiratory disease, and
cancer. The statistics reported by Ministry of Health Malaysia, found two categories, firstly
people who are above 26 years old, and people who are above 56 years old. Most of them had
underlying medical problems. Figure 6 depicts the statistics.
SPIRITUAL AND CHARITY ACTIONS
Besides the enforcement of Movement Control Order by the police and health officers, and also
special economic packages by the government to assist financially, Minister in Prime Minister’s
Department (Religious Affairs), Senator Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri has called all
Muslims to perform prayers on nationwide. In the meantime, all charity organisations are called
to offer financial assistance as well.
During crisis, besides making doa and prayers, making charity is essential. Especially when there
are many people are in dire need of essential items to survive. All charity organisations and
places of worships are called to be part of the charitable run (Zakariyyah, Mohd Noor & Mhd
Sarif, 2017). This is essential to provide physical and spiritual supports (Mhd Sarif, 2018). This
is particularly the case of waqf institutions to be proactive in this matter (Md Saad et al, 2017).
COVID-19 is a new disease. This is unprecedented situation. Unlike the previous pandemic and
epidemic, there were under control. The unprecedented situation requires for unprecedented
measures to deal with the situation. Malaysia has taken necessary action to prevent the pandemic
for the safety of the people.
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World Health Organization (2020). Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak situation.
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019, 1 April.
Zakariyyah, L, Mohd Noor, A., & Mhd Sarif, S. (2017). Accounting Practices and Charitable
Giving: Integrating Maqasid al-Shariah Framework for Tabung Masjid in Malaysia.
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