States show efforts to adhere to MCO

Change of routine: Enforcement personnel reasoning with visitors to the SS2 wet market.

PETALING JAYA: The third day of the movement control order (MCO) saw concerted effort by local councils and police personnel to compel some stubborn business operators to close.

Although there are only a handful, these operators are using whatever ambiguities in the book to evade authorities.

One is to keep their front shutters closed but leave the side or rear ones open.

In Seremban, city council officers were seen patrolling the streets in several areas and telling some businesses firmly that they must close temporarily.

It is learnt that some businesses have also been issued compounds for continuing to flout the law.

However, it could not be immediately established how many summonses have been issued.

Checks at the Jalan Senawang light industrial park, a hub for vehicle repair shops, showed that most were adhering to the directive to close.

Restaurants have also been strictly adhering to the rule of only allowing takeaways.

A banner seen at the popular Temiang Corner food court in Seremban on takeaway service and reduced operating hours.A banner seen at the popular Temiang Corner food court in Seremban on takeaway service and reduced operating hours.

Most have also put up banners or notices clearly stating that patrons were not allowed to dine in their premises.Some have also reduced their operating hours.

Employees of these eateries were also seen taking the necessary precautions such as donning face masks and using hand sanitisers.

In Melaka, many residents continue to defy the law with many seen loitering around Melaka Sentral, the city’s bus terminal, and shopping complexes.

The scenario was different in the more rural parts of the state.

A drive around Alor Gajah and Jasin districts shows that rural folks are adhering to the MCO, with stalls closed except for grocery outlets.

Melaka Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department chief Asst Comm Beh Eng Lai said 688 vehicles were screened since Wednesday. He said many gave preposterous reasons when stopped at roadblocks.

“We have not arrested anyone so far but eventually, more stringent enforcement will take place if locals continue to defy the law,” ACP Beh said, adding that police had placed 70% of its personnel in Melaka on standby during the period.

In George Town, popular venues such as Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi are nearly devoid of life, with hardly any cars parked along the winding road.

Conspicuously missing, too, are the hawker stalls after Penang Island City Council (MBPP) enforcement officers made a surprise check at one of the beaches there.

A group of foreigners who were swimming in the sea at Batu Ferringhi were told to leave the place. MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the foreigners left without any fuss.

“We are monitoring the beaches through cameras at the command centre and we will ensure the MCO is adhered to by the public,” he said.

In Ipoh, most of the non-essential services premises were shut.

A check at some of the areas including Jelapang, Silibin, Manjoi and the city centre saw shutters completely down and locked.

Only sundry shops, mini-marts and 24-hour convenience outlets were open, along with some eateries.

The Ipoh City Council has been urged to make a clearer statement on markets.

Ipoh Timur MP Wong Kah Woh said he had received different information on whether the markets could open.

“Several Ipoh-based state assemblymen and I have gotten many inquiries on whether public markets can operate following the MCO.

“Through our city councillors, we got the answer at about 6.40pm on Thursday saying that public markets are not allowed to open as people would congregate there,” he added.

“And at 10.50pm, the city council released a statement listing a number of businesses that are allowed to operate, including public markets, thus causing confusion,” he said.

Wong said he had also contacted mayor Datuk Ahmad Suaidi Abdul Rahman on the matter.

“It was also then I was told that public markets are not allowed to open. He said each state and local government is allowed to make a decision from time to time based on their respective situations,” Wong said.

A city council spokesman said Thursday’s statement on the matter was the latest, and is in accordance with the National Security Council’s ruling that allowed public markets to open as usual.

Only farmer’s (pasar tani) and night markets (pasar malam) and roadside stalls are not allowed to operate.

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