GEORGE TOWN, Sept 14 — Police will shut down public recreational spots, such as beaches and parks, if people continue to crowd them without adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs), Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain warned today.
He said there was a marked increase in traffic on the roads and people flocking to recreational spots last weekend.
He said in addition to viral videos of crowds at Mengkuang Dam, he had also personally witnessed people thronging the beaches at Batu Ferringhi.
“I personally visited Batu Ferringhi and I noticed groups of cyclists who were not adhering to the SOPs,” he said during a press conference at the Penang police headquarters today.
Mohd Shuhaily said state borders remain closed so it was obvious that these were Penangites.
He reminded the public that they must still comply with the SOPs even though they can leave the house for recreational activities with their children.
“Penang has been disciplined so far, from when we entered Phase Two on July 7 up to last weekend, when suddenly everyone came out, as if celebrating Klang Valley entering Phase Two,” he said.
“We are still in Phase Two, not in Phase Four, so please follow the strict SOPs.”
Mohd Shuhaily said businesses in Penang have been relatively disciplined, with most eateries still offering only takeaway, even though they can open for dine-in.
“I hope everyone will continue to be disciplined in following the strict SOPs because we are still getting Covid-19 cases in the four digits,” he said.
He also pointed out that daily Covid-19 deaths in the state are now in the double digits.
He said if people continue to crowd recreational spots without following the SOPs, the police will not hesitate to take stern action.
“If you go to the beach and see that it is crowded, go home. Don’t join the crowd,” he said.
Mohd Suhaily also advised non-governmental organisations (NGO), political parties or any groups that wish to distribute aid to the public to adhere to the SOPs and to do it through the proper channels.
“If you want to give aid, please do it through the right channel via the Welfare Department,” he said.
However, he said no action will be taken against Penang Gerakan yesterday over the crowd that gathered at its headquarters here when the party gave out aid packages.
He said those who collected the packages had complied with the SOPs.
“They wore face masks and queued in accordance with the SOPs,” he said.
Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the Embassy of Japan’s recent terror advisory, Mohd Suhaily said there were absolutely no such threats in Penang.
He said with Japanese companies and even a Japanese school here, the presence of Japanese citizens in Penang is quite apparent.
“We have a close relationship with Japan so we will ensure their safety and increase our surveillance of all related places, but we believe there is no threat to their safety at all,” he said.
Yesterday, the Japanese embassy in Kuala Lumpur confirmed that it has issued a warning to its citizens in Malaysia over possible terrorist threats in South-east Asia.
The advisory, issued to Japanese citizens in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, warned them to stay away from religious facilities and other crowded areas.
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