NSC may announce fresh SOP for MCO tomorrow, says defence minister

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

The Defence Minister said the new restrictions could entail shorter operating hours for markets or eateries during the movement control order period. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The National Security Council will announce a new standard operating procedure (SOP) that could see added restrictions to the ongoing movement control order (MCO), Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said today.

The new restrictions could entail shorter operating hours for markets or eateries, the senior minister said.

However, he denied that the government plans to impose a curfew or declare an emergency — a rumour that has been circulating ever since the armed forces were deployed to assist the police last Sunday.

“I am stating here that any news about a curfew or of us declaring an emergency, that all shops and markets will be shut down, are fake,” he told a media briefing in Putrajaya.

“We will announce the new SOP either tomorrow or on Monday.”

The plan to impose additional restrictions comes even as Ismail said police data indicated that 97 per cent of the population are complying with the MCO, up 2 per cent from just two days ago.

The senior minister suggested “many” are still defiant, which justifies the need for stricter enforcement.

He pointed to the over 400 people arrested by the police for breaching the order in the last two days as evidence of non-compliance.

But the new SOP could also entail easier movement for essential businesses.

Ismail said multiple ministries are still fine-tuning details, including how to ensure key industries remain operational.

“For example, we want factories closed but we still need to consult Miti first because we actually listed a lot more to be closed,” he said.

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