The rush to cross state lines is on


PETALING JAYA: The police anticipate over 100,000 cars will take to the roads starting today to make their way back to the cities in the first public mass movement since the movement control order (MCO) came into effect in March.

The four-day interstate travel will begin today as people prepare to return to work in anticipation of the MCO ending on May 12.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reminded those making the journey to head directly home and avoid stopping at R&Rs if possible.

He said authorities would be stationed at the R&Rs to keep an eye on the crowd.

He urged the people at the rest stops to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP), including social distancing and hygiene.

“Authorities will be at the R&Rs to monitor the situation and ensure SOP is complied with, ” he said in his daily briefing yesterday.

He said anyone wanting to take a break at the R&R after a long drive must not loiter and must remain in the car.

Federal CID director Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed said that for the moment, only personal registered vehicles would be allowed on the roads for interstate travel.

“We also made a decision to not allow motorcyclists on such trips during this time as they will be more exposed and it would be difficult for them to maintain social distancing at rest areas.”

He said police would set up at least 98 roadblocks at state borders to check the validity of those making interstate journeys.

“Those who do not have approval should not travel to other states because they will face action under Rule 5(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulations, ” he added.

Comm Huzir said the police had received 503,276 applications from 1,407,143 people who downloaded and registered with the Gerak Malaysia app for interstate travel.

“Only 148,516 of those applicants had verified their trips.

“We also received 13,069 applications through police stations nationwide, ” he told reporters yesterday.

He urged those who had sent in their applications to update their address of origin and destination immediately.

The authorities announced that the period from May 7 to 10 would be opened to those who had applied via the app or filled in forms at police stations for permission to travel across state borders for specific reasons during the conditional MCO.

Besides interstate travel, applicants can tick either one of the four reasons – buying food and necessities, treatment, emergency activity and important activity.

Only those from Kuala Lumpur are allowed to travel today.

People in Perak, Johor and Kelantan will be able to make the trip tomorrow.

Those in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Melaka and Pahang can travel on May 9 while people in Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Terengganu can do so on May 10.

This relaxation for travel is to facilitate the return of those who have been stuck in their hometowns and villages where many had rushed to when the MCO was first announced on March 18.

Comm Huzir said an updated version of the app was available for download at the Google Playstore for android while the updated version for Apple platform users was available from last night.

“The last step applicants need to take before travelling across state borders is to update the app to the version 2.5 today, ” he said adding that once the app was updated, applicants must generate a QR code, which would act as proof that their application was approved.

Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishal Ishak was also present at the press conference to give a short demonstration on how to generate the QR code.

Comm Huzir said he had previously mentioned that app users only needed to register and update their details and no approval would be given but the QR code feature was added because preliminary statistics showed that 503,276 people had applied.

“Of that number, only 29.5% (148,576) applicants had updated their details while 354,700 applicants had yet to do so.

“This could be because of two factors – people thought that they did not have to wait for approval or they were just waiting to do it at the last minute, ” he said.

He emphasised that the QR code process was important to ensure no one abused the interstate travel.

He said the feature would also help Health Ministry and the police trace anyone, including their close contacts, should they test positive for Covid-19.

“Those who get approval to travel to other states will be required to provide police personnel with the QR code for scanning when they are stopped at roadblocks.

Meanwhile, PLUS is estimating more than 300,000 cars travelling nationwide, including on its highway, over these coming four days.

Non-Muslims are advised to pack their food, as stalls at the R&Rs will not be opened.

Petrol stations along the highways will be operational from 6am until midnight.

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