PETALING JAYA: Police and the Armed Forces will help patrol supermarkets and markets to ensure the public adheres to the social distancing rules during the movement control order (MCO) period, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He advised the public to maintain a distance of at least 1m between one another, especially in supermarkets and markets when purchasing their daily essentials.
“I want to advise consumers that we understand your need to buy your daily essentials but please observe social distancing.
“That is why we have agreed for the police and the Armed Forces to be deployed at supermarkets and markets to help local authorities ensure people queue and don't go inside in groups to reduce any risk, ” he said in a televised conference on Sunday (March 22).
According to Ismail, some 50,000 personnel have been deployed to help enforce the MCO.
He said they comprised personnel from the Armed Forces, the Malaysian Volunteer Corps (Rela), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, as well as officers from local authorities.
“I cannot give you the full details but the overall number is about 50,000, ” he said.
Ismail said they would be distributed according to which are high-risk areas, to be determined by a special task force led by Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador.
He said although police say that 90% of people were now adhering to the MCO, there were still 10% who were not.
“Considering that we have about 32 million people, 10% is still a lot.
“There are many out there who are either unaware or purposely ignoring the MCO.
“That is why we hope that the Armed Forces could help the police ensure that the situation remains under control and that the order is implemented, ” he said.
He rubbished rumours that military tanks have been deployed at each roadblock.
“This may sound funny but this has been spread around to scare the public.
“I would like to stress that the Armed Forces were deployed to assist and perhaps to give advice to the people in order to implement the MCO, ” he said.
Ismail said the government made this decision based on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), and not under the Emergency Ordinance.
“At the moment, we are still at the stage where we give advice to the public. However, this could change to sterner action, ” he warned.