PETALING JAYA: An estimated 200,000 people managed to bypass police roadblocks although interstate travel restrictions were put in place for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The Senior Minister said even though travel restrictions were imposed, some people still managed to make balik kampung trips, causing a spike in Hari Raya clusters, leading to deaths within families.
“We can lie to the police but we can’t lie to the present Covid-19 situation as the disease is now everywhere.
“Many people were angry that they could not travel for Hari Raya and we were informed that 200,000 people managed to go through police roadblocks.
“As a result, after Hari Raya, there were many clusters and also deaths, ” he said at a joint press conference with Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday.
Malaysia could also be logging 13,000 or 15,000 daily cases of Covid-19 if the government had allowed interstate travel for Hari Raya, he said.
Ismail Sabri urged the public to only apply for permits for interstate and inter-district travels if they had legitimate reasons.
He said there were cases where police refused to issue permits because they doubted the reasons given by the applicants.
“Approvals will only be granted for work purposes or emergencies such as deaths within the family or visiting an ill immediate family member, ” he said.
“As the police were extra strict in granting travel approvals, some people who had genuine reasons to travel were unable to do so.”
Ismail Sabri said starting tomorrow, long-distance married couples would no longer be able to obtain police permission for inter-district or interstate travel.
He said every citizen must sacrifice during the two-week lockdown until June 14, with some having to close their businesses.
“We have decided not to allow long-distance couples to travel across states or districts during the lockdown period, ” he added.