This is a 2-week movement control, not a local holiday to balik kampung.” – Despite the warnings to minimise contact with people, it fell on deaf ears.

Last night (Tuesday, 17th March), traffic was bad and public transit areas were packed with people. Many were seen returning to their respective hometowns.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador stated that those who wish to travel interstate within these 2 weeks are required to inform the police. As per The Star, exemption letters would be provided to individuals with important matters or travel emergencies.

For the police department, our role in this restriction order is to control the public’s movement from one state to another or even from one district to another. This is to stop the virus from travelling as well,” the IGP was quoted as saying.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said that people should stay put wherever they were. “No, the answer is No. Stay put wherever you are. The whole idea of this Restricted Movement Order is to… restrict movement… to minimise human contact that can spread the virus. Social distancing is the fancy term for it,” she shared.

The Deputy Director General of MOH tweeted out his disappointment at people’s behaviour. “What apparently happened in TBS today is exactly what we didn’t want to happen. Mass gatherings at bus terminals & then folks going all over the country from the active COVID-19 area in the country. Are we not potentially spreading it nationwide? Maybe I’m missing something?” he wrote.

To curb the situation, PDRM has lifted the interstate travel ban after the regulation somewhat backfired. Chief of Police, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador explained that the ban was lifted after many people appeared at various police stations to fill out forms.

In this regard, we have lifted the ban and the public can travel safely, prudently tonight. No restrictions will be imposed on them until a new decision will be announced after the meeting on this matter tomorrow,” he told reporters last night.

Update (18th March, 1pm):

IGP is now clarifying that travelling ban has not been lifted. However, special permits will be granted to those with special cases. Those circumstances include death of a close family member, critical illness of a close relative, the requirement of medical treatment, for themselves, or a close family member and more…

Sources: Berita Harian, The Star.

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