Police have warned those who are already in their hometowns from returning to the cities, saying authorities are ready to block them as part of measures to curb people’s mobility under the Covid-19 movement control order (MCO).
“I hope this does not happen. As advised earlier stay where you are,” Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
The action includes blockades at 23 toll plazas along inter-state highways nationwide.
“Here, motorists will be asked to return. There is no need to go back to bigger cities to work. Police will not allow it,” he added.
As of yesterday, he said, 1,029 roadblocks had been set up and over 163,000 vehicles checked. Another 2,481 spot-checks were held nationwide.
He said the police might change their tactics from giving advice to taking legal action against those who do not follow the rules.
“Don’t wait until legal action is taken,” he added. “What the government is doing is for the safety of all.”
Ismail also said there had been an improvement in compliance with the MCO, with 95% of Malaysians obeying the directive compared to 92% before.
He said Putrajaya had also discussed the possible rush to withdraw salaries at banks and ATMs at the end of the month.
He said the police, army or security guards at banks might be asked to monitor the people to ensure that social distancing is upheld while withdrawing money.
“I urge Malaysians not to rush at these places,” he said.
“Banks may also see how many customers can come in (at a time) to ensure social distancing.”
He also said the communications and multimedia ministry had begun taking action against those found to be distributing fake news.
So far, 85 cases are under investigation while six people have been charged in court.
A special task force has also been set up to study the food supply chain, comprising the international trade and industry ministry, agriculture and food industries ministry and domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry.
He said the task force would look at ways to ensure a continuous food supply.
The government through the health ministry and National Security Council is also looking at ways to identify high-risk areas with Covid-19 infections.