Types of critical construction work allowed
Applications for operating permits
Control the movement of construction workers


Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on January 11, 2021 regarding the imposition of the Movement Control Ordinance (MCO 2.0) in the states of Johor, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, Selangor, Penang and Sabah, the Department of International Trade and Industry ( MITI) has published the list of economic sectors that are allowed to operate during MCO 2.0. This includes the construction sector, among others. The Department of Labor issued a press release on January 12, 2021, clarifying that critical construction work could be carried out during MCO 2.0. A summary of these is given below.

Types of critical construction work allowed

Critical maintenance and repair work

“Critical Maintenance and Repair” refers to work that if left unattended or unfinished, will endanger or damage workers, members of the public, or the environment. Such works include:

  • Repair of slopes and traffic lights;
  • Repair and maintenance of roads;
  • Repair of buildings, offices and homes;
  • Traffic management control;
  • regular inspection and repair of elevators, bicycles, escalators and other critical mechanical and electrical equipment;
  • Repair, maintenance and modernization work on premises for essential services;
  • Building Bailey Bridges in places where bridges have collapsed;
  • Construction of tunnels;
  • Emergency work according to contract;
  • Maintenance and cleaning services for the disposal of standing water or for the confiscation of pests on building sites; and
  • Work which, if not completed, will cause danger or damage.

Construction work for major public infrastructures

“Construction work for important public infrastructures” means:

  • Work in which mainly machines are used;
  • Work in which no workers gather in one place;
  • Work carried out far away from members of the public; and
  • works where the construction site is in a remote area.

These works include:

  • Highways and roads;
  • Bridges and viaducts;
  • Light rail or local transport;
  • Infrastructure relating to electricity, telecommunications or oil and gas; and
  • Infrastructure related to dams, drainage and sewerage.

Construction work

Construction work is permitted for:

  • Projects that provide workers with accommodation on site; and
  • Projects in which construction workers are housed in central work rooms and transported to and from the construction site.

Contractors should note that the above worker accommodations must comply with the Workers Minimum Standard and Amenities Act 1990.

Advice and professional services

Advice and professional services may only be performed for the critical construction work listed in the previous sections. Consultants must fully comply with applicable Standard Operating Procedures and ensure that they have a minimal workforce and only perform critical tasks on site.

Other services in the supply chain

Other services in the supply chain, such as the supply and delivery of construction materials, are allowed but are limited to approved construction sites as they are critical construction work, such as under “Critical Maintenance and Repair”, “Important Construction Works public infrastructures “and” construction works “ over. All parties in the supply chain must fully comply with applicable standard operating procedures, including disinfecting the vehicle and items to be delivered and recording their temperatures when entering the construction site.

Applications for operating permits

Construction companies must apply to MITI for an operating permit in order to be able to carry out critical construction work during MCO 2.0. Applications can be submitted online via the MITI online portal.

Control the movement of construction workers

The movement of construction workers to and from a construction site and the housing of the workers must be closely monitored. Contractors must provide limited transportation for construction workers to get from their accommodation to the construction site and back. In addition, contractors must ensure that workers’ daily needs, including food and toiletries, are available on site to prevent them from leaving the site unnecessarily.

Contractors should also note that construction workers are not allowed to travel between construction sites during MCO 2.0.


The range of construction works that can be carried out during MCO 2.0 is wider than that which was allowed during the first MCO. Hopefully this will reduce the impact of MCO 2.0 on contractors large and small. However, contractors should be aware that in addition to complying with standard operating procedures, they are also responsible for ensuring that their workers comply with the regulations. In practice this will not be an easy task.

You can find the press release from the Ministry of Labor here.

For more information on this subject, please contact Richard Khoo Boo Hin or Rachel Chiah at SKRINE by phone (+60 3 2081 3999) or email ( or . The SKRINE website can be found at

The materials contained on this website are for general informational purposes only and are subject to a disclaimer.

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