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KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — It’s mere hours before the country’s first movement control order comes into effect, and Malaysians are still confused as to what is required of them to travel interstate during the shutdown period after seemingly conflicting actions by the police.
Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had announced that those looking to travel interstate during the restriction period would have to first report to their nearest police station and obtain permission to cross state lines.
Abdul Hamid had said this was to ensure effective monitoring of those moving between states.
He, however, mentioned that districts in the capital and Selangor that fall under what is loosely defined as the ‘Klang Valley’ would be exempted from the process of obtaining permission.
“At this stage, we are more focused on inter-state. Interstate between KL-Selangor is considered reasonable, no need to go to the station,” Abdul Hamid had said during his press conference earlier today.
Despite this, photos of successful interstate travel applications made available to Malay Mail showed them being issued a permit to travel from Klang in Selangor to Masjid Jamek in the heart of the city, areas normally considered under Klang Valley.
Malay Mail is seeking clarification over the contradictions in the statements and practices over the matter from the police.
Dengar kata IPD Seksyen 9 Shah Alam sampai keluar orang beratur nak amik borang 👀 pic.twitter.com/U3GOUIbxDS— Ali Amir Razali | علي امير رازالي🇲🇾 (@aliamirrazali) March 17, 2020
Adding to the confusion is hordes of people already flocking to their local police stations to obtain permission to travel interstate.
Photos of beelines forming outside several police stations are already being circulated on social media and instant messaging applications following Abdul Hamid's announcement earlier today that all interstate commutes, besides those considered within the Klang Valley area, must be reported to the police.
Among the police stations that have been thronged by hordes of people looking to obtain travel permission which was shared online include the Shah Alam and Cheras police district headquarters, and the Pantai, Bandar Baru Bangi and Kangar police stations in the city, Selangor and Perlis respectively.
A copy of the permission letter was made available to the media by Bukit Aman Corporate Communications officers, which requires applicants to provide their personal and contact information, car type and plate registration numbers, the number of people travelling, and the addresses of their home and intended destination.
“Death of a family member; critically ill; to receive private medications for oneself or a family member, or any other matter at the discretion of the station chief,” read the reasons one would have to present to gain permission to travel from the police.
Completing the form is the section where the station chief pens his decision to approve or reject the application, with his accompanying reasons is required, while also requiring the officer enlistment details and rank.
This comes after Abdul Hamid announced earlier today the need for the public to report to respective police stations and gain permission before travelling, in light of the movement control order announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
The movement control order comes into effect at the stroke of midnight on March 18, which lasts up to March 31, as Malaysia saw its first two deaths caused by Covid-19 reported earlier today and with a total of 673 positive cases so far.