Senior minister: Still many cars on the road despite MCO, more roadblocks expected

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Police personnel are seen at a roadblock at Jalan Kuching in Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The number of cars on the road remain considerably high despite the enforced movement control order (MCO), Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said tod

Heavy traffic was still reported on roads in prime locations like Petaling Jaya and in the capital city, said the Umno leader, who suggested that the authorities could mount more roadblocks to curb travel.

“We found so many cars still on the road,” he told a media briefing in Putrajaya.

“Today I received a video that showed heavy traffic on roads in the capital city, Selangor and so forth.”

But the message appeared to have contradicted the authorities’ own reading of the situation. Ismail said police data revealed a compliance rate of 97 per cent, up 2 per cent from just two days ago.

“I believe this is due to the sterner attitude adopted by the authorities,” he said.

The police have mounted over 1,600 roadblocks nationwide as part of the MCO’s restriction on movements. As of last night, up to 240,000 vehicles have been screened, which the minister said was a staggering number.

“This means there are still those who defy the order,” he lamented.

Up to 400 people have been arrested for “defying” the MCO in the span of two days, Ismail said, as he justified the need for stricter enforcement of the order despite himself indicating that the compliance rate has been nearly 100 per cent.

The defence minister said the National Security Council have contemplated adding more restrictions, expected to be announced either tomorrow or on Monday, ahead of the two-week MCO extension.

News of the added restrictions have fuelled rumours that the authorities will impose a curfew or declare an emergency, and have prompted some to panic buy.

But Ismail said no such thing will happen, not in the near future at least.

“All news about a curfew or that we will declare emergency are fake.”

* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.

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