Almost half of Malaysians willing to abide by an indefinite MCO
April 13th, 2020, Kim Ho

Almost half of Malaysians willing to abide by an indefinite MCO

Two in five incomes impacted by the lockdown

As the world continues to battle COVID-19, Malaysia has been put under lockdown by order the Movement Control Order 2020 (MCO) to curb the spread of the virus. Latest YouGov data looks at what Malaysians think about the MCO, how their livelihoods have been impacted by this and what they see for the future of the nation’s economy.

Malaysia’s MCO came into force on 18 March 2020. While initially intended to last two weeks, this was extended to end on 14 April 2020, with discussion ongoing as to whether to extend this further. The majority (87%) of Malaysians agreed with the first extension. One in twenty (5%) disagreed with it, and the remaining 8% were undecided.

On the assumption that the MCO needs to be extended further, almost half (46%) of Malaysians said they were willing to abide by it indefinitely – as long as it takes to combat the spread of the virus. About a quarter (25%) said they were willing to abide by it for another two weeks, one in seven (15%) for another months and one in seven (14%) for another three to six months.

Overall, four in five (89%) claim to be following the MCO closely, and a small percentage (3%) admitted they have not. The remaining 8% claim to be somewhat following the MCO. Those aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to not be following the order closely, with 7% claiming not to do so.


Under the MCO, all companies that do not fall under “essential services” must temporarily close. While some require staff to work from home, others were told to go on leave or let go. While three in five (59%) Malaysians incomes remain unaffected by the MCO, the remaining two in five (38%) said their earnings have been affected.

In response to the impact of COVID-19, the government announced a RM250billion economic stimulus package with measures including cash pay-outs, exemption of rental payments and special allowances. With these measures in mind, almost half (46%) of Malaysians feel optimistic about the nation’s economic future. A quarter (26%) feel pessimistic, and the remaining three in ten (29%) are undecided. Those from high-income households (earning more than RM8000 a month) are much more likely to feel pessimistic than low-income earners (earning less than RM4000 a month) (49% vs. 18%).

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “As the world continues to battle this pandemic, Malaysians remain under the lockdown for over three weeks now. Though a significant amount have had their incomes affected by the MCO, it appears most are co-operative and in support of the lockdown – many going so far as to say that they are willing to abide by the MCO for an indefinite period of time to combat spread of the virus.”

***Results based on 1,105 Malaysians surveyed by YouGov Omnibus