Despite the ongoing restrictions on inter-district and interstate travel, some 200,000 still managed to bypass police roadblocks and "balik kampung" for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, it has been revealed.
According to Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob, this had contributed to Hari Raya COVID-19 clusters, as well deaths from the disease.
"We can lie to the police but we can't lie to the present COVID-19 situation as the disease is now everywhere.
"Many people were angry that they could not travel for Hari Raya and we were informed that 200,000 people managed to go through police roadblocks," the minister said in a press conference yesterday, reported The Star.
For the record, the figure above does not include those who had returned to their hometowns via illegal/backdoor trails (jalan tikus). Photos of cars snaking through the muddy roads of plantations had gone viral during the Hari Raya season.
Lamenting this, Ismail urged the public to only apply for permits for interstate and inter-district travel for legitimate reasons, including work purposes or emergencies such as deaths in the family or visiting an ill immediate family member.
The extra scrutiny by the police had also caused people with genuine reasons being denied permit to travel, he added.
Malaysia has been logging COVID-19 cases in the thousands daily, with a shocking 9,020 new cases recorded last Saturday.
According to Ismail, the numbers could have swelled to 13,000 or 15,000 daily, had the government allowed interstate travel during the festive season.
To date, Malaysia has a total of 565,533 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 2,729 deaths from the disease.
To stem the drastic rise in cases, the country will go into yet another lockdown (MCO 3.0) for two weeks starting tomorrow (June 1), where only 17 essential economic services will be allowed to operate.
Source: The Star
Photo source: Astro Awani
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