Thousands trying to balik kampung turned back


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 May 2020

Passing through: Up to 3,000 vehicles were told to turn back on Tuesday after the occupants admitted they were returning to their hometowns for Hari Raya.

PUTRAJAYA: It looks like more people are trying their luck to balik kampung for Hari Raya Aidilfitri despite knowing their journey will be barred despite repeated reminders that interstate travel is not allowed during the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

According to the police, 3,212 vehicles were stopped on Tuesday.

“When the vehicles were stopped, the passengers admitted to the police that they wanted to go back to their hometowns for Hari Raya.

“They were immediately ordered to turn back, ” Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at his daily briefing yesterday.

On Tuesday, police set up 216 interstate roadblocks and checked 318,082 vehicles.

Ismail Sabri said the figures reported indicated that more and more people were trying to wriggle their way around the MCO.

“From several hundred vehicles asked to turn back over the weekend, the figures climbed to more than 1,000 in the past few days.

“On Tuesday, there were more than 3,000 vehicles with passengers wanting to go back for Hari Raya.

“The government has repeatedly informed the public that interstate travel including during Hari Raya is not allowed, ” he said.

The authorities have said checks will be conducted at housing areas and villages to track down those who have flouted the conditional MCO and gone back to their hometowns for Hari Raya.

Ismail Sabri also said 77,537 inspections were conducted nationwide on Tuesday.

These included supermarkets, restaurants, banks, transport terminals, wet markets and places of worship.

“Let me remind everyone that the authorities will take action against individuals and businesses if they fail to follow standard operating procedure.

“It is important that everyone does their part in the war against Covid-19, ” he said.

The government has allowed almost all economic and social activities to resume from May 4 in an effort to restart the economy.

However, certain activities and businesses as well as interstate travel are still disallowed during the conditional MCO, which is being enforced until June 9.

On another matter, Ismail Sabri said the government would wait for Saudi Arabia to announce its decision on haj before deciding whether to allow Malaysian Muslims to perform the annual pilgrimage.

“What the government will decide on haj depends on the announcement on this matter by the Saudi government. Once there is an announcement, the minister in charge (of religious affairs) will decide what is best in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is no point making any decision now when we don’t know what their stand is on the matter, ” he added.

Singapore has announced that its citizens will not perform the annual Islamic haj pilgrimage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while Indonesia awaits Saudi Arabia’s decision if it will allow the haj to be performed this year.

On April 1, Saudi Arabia asked Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the pandemic before plans are made to allow Muslims to perform the haj pilgrimage.

Earlier, the Saudi government suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage over fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities.

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