Malaysia Defence Minister : Army Could Be Called In If Movement Control Order Compliance Doesn’t Improve – Sterner Action

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says only some 60% of Malaysians complied with the movement control order (MCO) which came into effect yesterday.

“If we have no choice, if compliance remains at 60% or 70%, then I believe that there’s a big possibility that the army will be used,” he said at a press conference today.

He said the army could also be deployed in rural areas as Rela members are presently the ones cooperating with the police in enforcing the MCO in those places.

He reiterated that Malaysians should remain at home at all times during the two-week period, saying, “Stay home and stay safe.”

He said 504 police roadblocks had been set up across the country to monitor the movements of people, with 6,135 vehicles checked as of yesterday.

He said the police had only issued warnings so far, but added that they would begin to enforce the directive more strictly if compliance does not improve.

Ismail also said the police would begin tracking down the attendees of the Sri Petaling mosque tabligh gathering who have yet to be screened for Covid-19.

“I understand there are worries over the members of the tabligh that can’t be traced, as many as 4,000.

“I also ask members of the tabligh who have not yet been traced to come forward to be screened.”

He added that ministries had been instructed to set up hotline numbers to provide direct answers to queries from members of the public on matters relating to their ministries.

Only 60pc complied with MCO; police may take sterner action

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Only 60 per cent of the public has obeyed the Movement Control Order (MCO) issued by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic as of yesterday, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said this has resulted in the police marshalling their personnel to control the situation by imposing roadblocks, with 504 roadblocks done nationwide by yesterday.

“6,135 vehicles have been checked by these roadblocks, and as of today the police are taking an advisory stance,” Ismail said during a press conference.

However, if public compliance is still not forthcoming, the minister warned that the police may be forced to take harsher action under the law.

“I do not believe this will be necessary should compliance arise over time. All district police chiefs have been instructed to take action, but the early stage is to broadcast the need for everyone to remain in their homes.

“Yesterday we were shown videos from the police that the broadcast has already been implemented nationwide. In addition to the reminder that we maintain social distancing whenever we step out to buy daily necessities, the Health Ministry has also informed me that small children should not be brought along for shopping during this time, so as to avoid anything bad,” he said.

Separately, Ismail said the Cabinet decided at its meeting yesterday to form a special ministerial committee on the MCO, involving 19 ministries and their respective secretary-generals, the Chief Secretary to the Government, the National Security Council, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Attorney-General.

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“The objective of the committee is to coordinate the roles and actions from all ministries which are related to Covid-19. Two meetings have already been held, one yesterday and one today, and the daily meetings will continue until the final day of the MCO on March 31.

“Among the issues discussed include reports by the police on their actions to control the movement of Malaysians in both city and urban areas. I do hope the rakyat heeds the MRO, as it is not meant to inconvenience them but to safeguard their lives and health,” he said, adding that it would be best for the public to discipline themselves and look out for their own interests.

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