by Izzah Ibrahim & Regina Wan Ahmad
The first cases of Covid-19 in Malaysia were detected on 25 January 2020, traced to three Chinese nationals travelling from Singapore. As part of the national response to mitigate the communal spread and pressure to the country’s healthcare system, the movement-control order (MCO) was implemented on 18 March 2020. It restricted most non-essential activities outside, allowing for only necessities, such as household groceries and medical treatment.
To support the enforcement of the MCO, the Malaysian armed forces (MAF) were deployed on 22 March 2020. However, the designation of these new responsibilities raised questions over the extent of the MAF’s supporting role. This included discussions over the existing understanding of civil-military relations in Malaysia and the evolving concept of national security interests. The ability to determine the state of such relations will be imperative for policymakers to adapt against similar threats in the future and inform the public accordingly.