Minister: Number of MCO arrests rose by half yesterday as many sought weekend escape

R. Loheswar
People queue in front of a Bank Simpanan Nasional branch in Kuala Lumpur April 6, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Yaakob has revealed today that authorities made 554 arrests nationwide yesterday for defying the movement control order (MCO).

He said the reason for this high number could be the fact it was a weekend, and many took the opportunity to go out thinking it was a good idea to do so with not many people out and about.

"Before this I was happy as the percentage of arrests was decreasing for three days. Then yesterday it spiked to 51 per cent.

"I was told by the police that the increase was due to many of you taking the opportunity to go out for the weekend seeing as yesterday was Sunday. This is against the MCO," said Ismail during his daily Covid-19 briefing.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it's a holiday everyday, not just on the weekend. So please do not take advantage of going out on the weekends in groups," he said, referring to the MCO.

Ismail also addressed the long queues that were seen at automatic teller machines (ATM) today formed by those who were trying to get their Bantuan Sara Hidup cash handouts which were deposited today.

"Do not crowd banks," said Ismail. "The banks have been informed and they must make sure the customers maintain social distancing and also limit the number of people in the bank."

Ismail said the police are taking sterner action with the Ministry of Health is continuing to report additional cases as the days go by.

He said they will not hesitate to catch those who continue to flout the MCO, pleading with members of the public to stay put.

Out of the 554 arrested, 489 were remanded while 65 posted bail. Of those remanded, 213 were charged in courts yesterday bringing the total number of people arrested since March 18 to 6,048.

Apart from that, the police conducted 743 roadblocks with 25,828 vehicles inspected. The authorities checked 4,822 premises and suburbs and conducted 25,818 surprise checks nationwide.

Meanwhile, 925 people are being quarantined nationwide at 118 quarantine centres. Ismail said they have not faced any issues in setting up the quarantine centres.



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