Home minister: Only three to four people for every 1,000 are still defying MCO

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

A man cycles along a quiet street in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — As Day Eight of the now extended 28-day movement control order (MCO) comes to a close, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin has revealed that those defying the shutdown are dwindling. 

He said, during an interview on Bernama TV, that statistically only about three or four people per 1,000 individuals were caught being stubborn in defiance of the order. 

“To date, not many are still defying the order. For every 1,000 people, maybe three or four people are still stubborn,” he said. 

Malaysian Armed Forces and police personnel man a roadblock in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Hamzah was also asked whether the government had considered a full-scale lockdown to mitigate the Covid-19 outbreak, to which he answered that “alternative methods” were being considered. 

“I do not want us to reach the level where we are at that stage (lockdown). 

‘But if there are many who are still stubborn, then there is a possibility this outbreak might spread further, and maybe other methods might have to be used.

“I am afraid to use the word ‘total’, because a total lockdown will involve everything that is happening in the country, and it will end up becoming a nightmarish situation,” he said when pressed. 

Hamzah said that a total of 695 reports of action taken by the police against those defying the order showed that many were still stubborn and failed to realise the gravity of the situation. 

Another worry he expressed was if people start to take a lackadaisical approach towards the MCO once the total number of infections starts to regulate and drop. 

“I am scared that, after this week, if we see the numbers not rising, people might start feeling more relaxed towards the order. 

“So, we are in the midst of discussing whether all measures taken by the government can actually address the situation, mainly at containing the Covid-19 outbreak spike,” he added. 

A Malaysian Armed Forces personnel conducts a routine check on bus passengers at a roadblock in Kuala Lumpur March 25, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif