Interstate travel with conditions begins today

KUALA LUMPUR (May 7): Entering the fourth day of the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) today, the focus is certainly on the interstate travel of those who were stranded at various locations in the country since enforcement of MCO last March 18 to return home.

In fact, PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) expects more than 300,000 vehicles, based on applications made to Gerak Malaysia, to be on the road, including its expressways, heading to their respective destinations from today until Sunday.

The expressways will also be busy today with the Wesak celebration, and also of parents heading to institutions of higher learning to pick up their children who were staying at their respective colleges, now that they are allowed to return home.

For those travelling long distance or on interstate travel, they are reminded that the Rest and Recreation (R&R) areas on all expressways, including the eateries and surau, are closed for public use.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said only the toilets at the R&R areas are allowed for use in an effort by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 and break the chain of the virus infection.

The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has also released a four-day interstate movement schedule for those who have applied to return home after being stranded at various locations following the enforcement of the MCO last March 18.

PDRM also said it will focus on roadblocks (SJRs) at national and state borders and monitoring compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The controls at the national borders were intended to check intrusions by foreign nationals while those at the state borders were to restrict cross-border movements which are still not allowed.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said express bus services and motorcycles cannot be used for interstate travel from today until May 10.

He said the decision to ban the use of these two modes of transportation had been decided earlier.

“In addition, travelling on flights within Peninsular Malaysia is allowed. But those wanting to travel to Sabah and Sarawak will have to first apply online using the existing platform made available by the state governments before purchasing flight tickets,” he said at a special press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

Huzir also said that only four passengers would be allowed in a vehicle for interstate travelling.

“However, it also depends on the discretion of the officer in charge of the roadblocks,” he said.

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the SJRs in Johor were now centred on the coastal areas as the government sought to curb the influx of migrants, with 39 SJRs in all districts.

He said 4,200 policemen were on duty for the CMCO compared to 4,600 members for the Movement Control Order (MCO) and SJR arrangements would also be implemented including road blocks that would be lifted and placed at exits and entrances between state borders.

“All 39 SJRs are along main routes that we feel should have the SJRs and maintained.

‘’They include coastal areas. This is specifically aimed at curbing the influx of migrants from neighboring countries after the MCO and now (CMCO), ”he told a press conference after attending a ceremony pertaining to a handing over of duty to the new Johor Deputy police chief at the Johor Police Contingent Headquarters in Johor Bahru, yesterday.

Former General Operation Force Sarawak Brigade Commander Datuk Khaw Kok Chin had been appointed as the new Deputy Johor police chief to replace Datuk Shafie Ismail, who retired yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Perlis police were utilising the Snap Check and MPV Police Patrol methods to track people passing through the rat lanes and paddy bunds in the state to avoid SJRs at all major entrances to the state. 

Perlis police Chief Datuk Surina Saad said the patrol groups would be mobilised to enter all 77 padi bunds and rat lanes in the state.

"Although there are no road closures and detours on the main roads after the CMCO, we do not want the people to use rat lanes and padi bunds," she told Bernama in Kangar.

Surina said they had tightened patrols in the rat lanes to ensure that no one entered the country without passing through the SJRs, and preventing foreigners from entering the country through the rat lanes.

Meanwhile, the Perak police had reduced its SJRs from 102 during the MCO to 30, 13 of which were set up at state borders including entry or exit on highways, involving the Perak border with Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Pahang, and receiving assistance from the army yesterday.

Perak police chief Datuk Razarudin Husain said police had also increased surveillance in public places, especially in supermarkets and bus stations to ensure that the sectors allowed to operate were in compliance with the SOP during the CMCO including social distancing.

"The police have also provided numerous advisory services to the public at the focus areas as well as restaurant operators and many have come to understand the SOP to jointly combat the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic," he said in Ipoh.

Razarudin said patrols were also being increased in recreation areas and playgrounds to prevent people from engaging in recreational activities as Perak had yet to allow the use of public parks.

For Kedah, the public in the state were free to move across the districts including Pulau Langkawi, but had to pay close attention to the SOP imposed by the MOH especially in terms of social distancing.

Kedah police chief Datuk Zainuddin Yaacob said compliance with the SOP was crucial to curb the spread of Covid-19, to simultaneously ensure that Kedah remained in the green zone.

"Roadblocks have been reduced starting today and the focus will be given to the entrances to Kedah as state crossings have not been approved," he said yesterday.

He was speaking to reporters after the Endowment Al-Quran Handing Over Ceremony to Frontliners by the Warisan Ummah Ikhlas Foundation, at the Kedah Police Contingent Headquarters in Alor Setar.

Selangor police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin yesterday said nine roadblocks will be set up in Selangor at midnight last night to check motorists involved in interstate travel.

"The roadblocks will be set up at strategic areas of Selangor bordering other states.

"For example, (the borders) between Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Perak," he told reporters when met at a roadblock at Km14 of Jalan Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh, Selayang, yesterday.

He said the roadblocks were meant to ensure that only those who had made valid applications using the Gerak Malaysia app would be allowed to travel interstate.

Individuals found travelling without approval from the police would be turned back, he added.

The situation is expected to create congestion on expressways, where motorists should give priority to safety by exercising courteous driving to avoid any mishaps on the road, while observing the stipulated guidelines and standard operating procedures issued by the Health Ministry to avoid Covid-19 infection.

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