Malaysia will mobilise its armed forces this Sun (22 Mar) to assist the police in enforcing the movement control order.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Fri (20 Mar) that the order, which took effect on Wed (18 Mar), would “be better enforced” with the military’s assistance.
Ismail, who is also one of Malaysia’s four new Senior Ministers, told reporters yesterday (19 Mar) that according to police, the compliance rate was 60 to 70 per cent on the first day the order took effect on Wed.
“We will most likely deploy the military should we find that the situation is not under total control … I don’t think it is necessary, but if we have no choice … I believe there is a high likelihood that the armed forces will be utilised in this situation,” he said.
Ismail also said that police have conducted roadblocks throughout the country to ensure that people are conforming to the order.
As of Wed, he said, around 6,135 vehicles were inspected by police in 504 roadblocks.
However, said Ismail, police have only advised the public to comply with the order so far.
“I believe that the police will take more stringent measures and resort to using the law against those who refuse, should the compliance rate stay low,” he said, adding that district police chiefs were instructed to do so since Wed.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Department of Information Services has continued to disseminate public service announcements using loud hailers on the move across the country to remind people to stay at home and to comply with the movement control order.
Exceptions apply, however, to those requiring medical attention or those who are in need of groceries.
Dalam menyebarkan maklumat yang terperinci kepada rakyat, Unit Hebahan Bergerak Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia meneruskan hebahan umum mengenai Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan dan juga #COVID19.
— Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia (@JPenerangan) March 19, 2020
The public announcement was also made in Malay, as heard in a recording below by a TOC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
The announcement called upon residents to comply with the movement control order “for the health and safety of all”.
“Love yourself, love your family, love your country,” urged the announcement.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a televised address announcing the order on Mon night (16 Mar) said that the order will take effect until the end of this month on 31 Mar.
The order, made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967, will see tightened border controls by imposing prohibitions on both outbound and inbound travel.
Malaysians are not allowed to travel outside the country throughout the imposition of the order, and citizens who have recently returned from overseas are required to undergo health tests and a 14-day self-quarantine.
Tourists and other foreign visitors will not be allowed to enter Malaysia during the period in which the order takes effect.
All business premises, schools and higher learning institutions, and other forms of premises whether public or private, as well as places of worship are subject to the order and will be required to shut down during the stipulated period.
Exemptions, however, apply to all essential services such as utilities, telecommunications, postal services, transport, broadcasting, financial and banking services, and health services — among several other sectors.
Supermarkets and other businesses selling food supplies will also be exempted from the shutdown requirement during the order.