Covid-19 Malaysia – Foreign Film & TV Production Update

Malaysia Foreign TV & Film productions - September 2020 COVID-19 update

Updated: 03 September 2020

Malaysia announced last week that COVID-19 travel restrictions to the country have been extended until the end of the year, which means there won’t be any foreign tourist allowed to enter the country. 

However, as mentioned in our earlier update, certain work-related activities by foreigners can be approved. While most filming application submission over the past months have been on hold or rejected, we are seeing now that restrictions are somewhat being eased and some applications being approved. 

The application procedure has fundamentally stayed the same; you will need to submit your application through a Malaysian production company licensed by the Malaysia Government (FINAS). They will deal with all the paperwork and the various departments involved in the process.

Since the COVID-19 situation around the World is currently still in a kind of in constant transformation, the final approval of your filming permit application will depend on the Malaysia Immigration Department deciding on the approval of the crew visa on a case by case basis. This will happen under the advice of the Malaysian Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre and most likely consider factors such as the current COVID19 situation in the country of the crews’ origin. 

Once your filming permit and visa have been approved your crew is ready to prepare for the shoot:
There will be a quarantine requirement of 14 days for everyone entering from abroad. This quarantine will be in a Government assigned hotel (one person per room unless they are couples or family members) and need to be paid in full upon check-in (approx. EURO 35 per day per person). 
All crew members need to download, activate and register with the official Malaysian COVID-19 tracing App “MySejahtera” and sign a so-called “Letter of Undertaking and Indemnity” (LoU) before travelling to Malaysia. 
In order to check-in on flights to Malaysia, you need a “travel notice” from your local Malaysian Embassy, which can be applied for by email by sending them the above mentioned LoU. A COVID-19 test is not mandatory before travelling to Malaysia, except the airline would require it as part of their own SOP’s. 
Upon arrival in Malaysia, there will be a health screening by Government health officials, which will cost you around EURO 25-60 (depending on the tests applied). Anyone showing symptoms or test positive will be directly transferred to a designated COVID-19 hospital. 
The crew members also need to go through a registration process at the Airport, which is coordinated by the National Disaster Management Agency and the Malaysian Civil Defence Force. Here the LoU will be checked and the quarantine location will be assigned. 
After the normal Immigration and Customs clearance, the crew will be transferred by Government arranged vehicles to the quarantine location. A Health Assessment Tool (HAT) will be supplied to every person for the purpose of self-monitoring throughout the quarantine period. Food and Drinks (basic) will be provided by the Quarantine Station (hotel) three times a day. During the whole time, the crew members won’t be allowed to leave their rooms. At the end of the quarantine and once given a “release order” by Government officials, the crew can move on to the shooting location and begin filming under production SOP’s supervised by the local film permit sponsor. 
Malaysia’s COVID-19 Production SOP’s are similar to what most European production hubs have adapted too:
  1. Talent auditions and pre-production meetings to be done remote/online
  2. Monitor body temperature and Covid-19 symptoms before every filming session
  3. Any crews not feeling well are not allowed to participate in the filming and to be referred to a health professional (hospital)
  4. Appoint a dedicated Health Safety Supervisor and set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Protocol Committee
  5. Keep a detailed record of crew movements. Every crew member (local or foreign) needs to download, activate and register the MySejahtera COVID-19 tracing App.
  6. Reduce production crew to a minimum
  7. Wear a facemask during the shoot (with exceptions for talents)
  8. Avoid situations and shooting scenes involving physical contact
  9. Plan shooting schedule to avoid any kind of over-crowding
  10. Makeup department should have different toolsets for each talent and wear facemasks or face shields during their work
  11. Practice social distancing of at least 1 meter
  12. All production crew should wash hand as often as possible or use hand sanitizers
  13. Wardrobe department should sanitize and wash wardrobe regularly and possibly have separate sets for each talent
  14. Clean and disinfect all production equipment before and after each filming session
  15. Interviews or interactions with fans and the public are not allowed on set
  16. Craft and catering must pack meals individually (no buffet) and provide ample space for meal breaks
  17. Provide enough vehicles for transport to allow social distancing of 1 meter. Clean and disinfect vehicles after each transport. 
AsiaFixer.TV is a Government Licensed production company and can help you with your filming permit application or questions you might have. Email us to [email protected]

Malaysia Foreign TV & Film productions - June 2020 COVID-19 update

Updated: 29 June 2020

The Malaysian Government has announced that film production activities are again allowed in the country from 10th June onwards. Like for other business sectors, the creative industry has been issued its own set of health & safety SOP. These workplace protocols include all “Standard SOP” measures prescribed by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH), such as regular body temperature checks, social distancing and general hygiene on the set. Besides, it also requires the appointment of a health & safety supervisor, and the crew needs to sign personal health declarations and submit travel records for four weeks before the shoot. Production companies are encouraged to work with a minimum of manpower to avoid large assemblies and to scale crew size according to the circumstances of the shooting location. The production company shall take extra caution and measures for specific workflows and crew involved in production processes when social distancing is made difficult, such as for makeup, wardrobe and casting. 

Last week the Malaysian Government announced that foreigners with existing or already approved work visa under certain categories are allowed to enter the country for work, this includes the Professional Visit Pass (PVP) used for crew and talent of foreign production companies wanting to shoot in Malaysia. 

The PVP application and entry process are somewhat less complicated for a foreign crew from “Green Zone Countries”, which currently include:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore

The list of “Green Zone Countries” will be regularly updated by the Government. 

For foreign crew coming from countries not listed as “Green Zone”, the procedure includes special permission by the Immigration Department of Malaysia and requires COVID-19 swab test and 14 days self-quarantine amongst other requirements. 

All foreign crew, “Green Zone or Non-Green Zone”, must comply with the following criteria:

  • The crew member must test negative for Covid-19 through the PCR Covid-19 test three (3) before entering Malaysia
  • The crew member has to download, install and complete the Government ‘s tracing app “MySejahtera” onto his/her personal mobile phone
  • 14 days self-quarantine

PUSPAL, the government agency processing filming permits has stated that all pending filming permit applications (which were approved or in process on 18 March 2020, when Covid-19 emergency measures started in Malaysia), have been automatically cancelled and need to be reapplied once foreigners will be allowed to enter Malaysia. 

PUSPAL does not accept yet new applications at the time of writing (29th June 2020)

Above conditions are valid for Peninsular Malaysia. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak (on Borneo) have their own, additional procedures and regulations for PVP and filming permits. 

Although the Malaysian Government has announced these first measures to re-vitalise the production industry and to re-admit foreign film crews, we at AsiaFixer.TV believe it still will take a few months longer to be able to provide a reasonably “hassle-free” location permitting and work visa process. 

Foreign production companies wanting to shoot in Malaysia should now focus on pre-production in order to be ready by the time entry restrictions are easing up, which we hope (and expect) to happen by September/October 2020. 

AsiaFixer.TV can help your pre-production process with specific research, budgeting, casting crew and talent, sourcing equipment and also location scouting. There is talk of creating a “Travel Bubble” in the ASEAN region very soon, which would allow us to scout locations for you beyond Malaysia. 

Be safe and stay tuned for further updates. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any inquiries. 


Disclaimer: Regulations keep on changing constantly during these times The information above is what we could gather from various sources. We tried our best to check its authenticity and validity.