‘Military may enforce roadblocks’


PUTRAJAYA: The public can expect sterner action, including the deployment of armed forces personnel to conduct roadblocks and checks if the compliance rate for the movement control order remains low after the “advisory period” is over, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said this was to make sure a higher record of the compliance rate was achieved compared to the 60% rate on the first day the order was enforced.

Police conducted 504 roadblocks and checked 6,135 vehicles on the first day of MCO, which began on March 18 and will last until March 31.

“I hope this will not be necessary but if the compliance rate is low, there is a big possibility that the military will be used (to get people to stay at home), ” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Deployment of military personnel was among the suggestions raised at the special meeting on Covid-19 on non-health related matter.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said the presence of armed forces might be needed more in smaller towns, rural areas and villages where currently Rela personnel were being deployed to make sure people stay at home.

Ismail Sabri said for the first two or three days, police conducting roadblocks and checks would advise the public to remain at home.

“After that, they will change from advice to action if the public does not comply with the order, ” he said.

The minister also said that police would track down the 4,000 participants who had yet to come forward to be tested for Covid-19 after attending the tabligh gathering last month.

He said police made the decision, as there were concerns that many who went to the rally, held at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling on Feb 28, had not been tested.

“While the police said that they will be doing this, I hope those who went for the event will voluntarily get themselves tested, ” he said.

The majority of Covid-19 cases recorded in the country were from the tabligh cluster.

On reports that 83 Malaysians had gone to Indonesia to attend another tabligh gathering, Ismail Sabri said they would have to be quarantined for 14 days upon their return.

“We are also getting details from the Immigration Department on how many Malaysians are overseas and their expected return so that the necessary action can be taken, ” he said.

He said the move by the 83 people to go to Indonesia did not violate the law as they left before the order was enforced and to a country which was not on the prohibited destination list.

“But when they return to Malaysia, they will be quarantined at the government health facility, ” he said.

On the issue of Malaysians commuting daily to work in Singapore, Ismail Sabri said: “The Prime Minister has spoken to the Singapore Prime Minister on this. Those working in the republic will be allowed to leave provided their accommodations are taken care of to prevent them from commuting daily.”

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