PUTRAJAYA: Despite the movement control order (MCO) having been in force since March 18, many Malaysians are still flouting it with a staggering 649 people arrested on Saturday (March 28).
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said it was a stark increase compared to 320 people arrested on Friday (March 27) and 162 on Thursday (March 26).
"A total of 70 people have been prosecuted and pleaded guilty in courts.
"Despite sterner action taken, there are still many who do not adhere to the MCO. The police have been allowed to take additional action, including issuing compounds," he told a special press conference on Sunday (March 29).
A total of 997 roadblocks were conducted on Saturday with 301,938 vehicles checked, he added.
"This is also worrying as it shows that there are still many vehicles on the road.
"The police also conducted checks on 3,223 business premises. Shops that are not supposed to open have been ordered to close," he said.
He added that a stricter standard operating procedure under the second phase of the MCO is expected to be announced on Monday (March 30).
Ismail Sabri also dismissed as fake news a report that quoted him as saying that a total lockdown would be imposed on certain locations.
"That is not true at all. I never made such a statement and all official media statements are made during daily press conferences," he said.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri assured the public that food supply in the country is sufficient.
"The committee in charge of food supply and necessities reported that such items can easily be purchased at hypermarkets.
"I want to remind the people for items such as rice, there is sufficient supply. When someone says that a certain brand of rice is out of stock, it does not mean there is a general rice shortage," he said.
He also praised the management of hypermarkets who abided by the MCO by imposing social distancing among their customers, among other safety measures.
"We are also thankful to the members of the public who patiently waited in line at the hypermarkets while practising social distancing," he said.