Police to be stricter with MCO enforcement during phase 3

Northeast District Police Chief ACP Soffian Santong speaks to reporters at Jalan Perak in George Town April 14, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainuddin
Northeast District Police Chief ACP Soffian Santong speaks to reporters at Jalan Perak in George Town April 14, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainuddin

GEORGE TOWN, April 14 — The police will now verify every excuse given by those stopped at roadblocks to the extent of following them home as an additional step to strictly enforce the movement control order (MCO), said Northeast District Police chief Assistant Commissioner Soffian Santong.

He said more cars have been seen on the roads since the end of last week as if the MCO was no longer in force.

“We need to conduct more roadblocks to make sure people do not come out for trivial reasons and we will also conduct snap checks between 10am and 2pm, 2pm and 6pm,” he told reporters at a roadblock set up along Perak Road that caused a massive jam leading into the main road.

He said police will now be stricter when conducting checks on both vehicles and drivers — including the car boot of suspicious vehicles during phase three of the MCO.

“Many are now using excuses like buying groceries, buying food, going to the bank or buying food for their elderly parents, we will not easily accept these excuses anymore,” he said.

He said each driver will be asked to show their identity card or proof of their current address and if they were found to live far from where they were stopped, they will be brought back to the police station and issued compounds.

For example, he said a person living in Farlim in Air Itam would have no reason to drive to Jelutong to buy groceries or food as there are grocery stores and food outlets within Farlim.

“Those with the excuse of buying food for their elderly parents, we will even escort them to their parents’ house to see if they are telling the truth,” he said.

He said those who claimed to have elderly parents living alone should have brought their parents to live with them or move in with their parents during the MCO instead of travelling daily to buy food for them.

“If there are two persons in a car, we will issue a compound unless they have valid reasons such as bringing a sick mother to hospital,” he said.

He said yesterday, police had increased the number of roadblocks at major roads that saw increased number of traffic last week.

“Yesterday, we conducted a roadblock along Jalan Pangkor and issued five compounds and among the reasons given include going out for a drive or purportedly to buy food; in one case, the person is from Tanjung Tokong but he claimed to be in Pulau Tikus to buy food,” he said.

He said those working in essential services would go to work early in the morning so vehicles on the road after 10am are often those out for trivial reasons.

He hoped the public will continue to adhere to the MCO and stay home so that the MCO will not be extended for another phase.

“We just need people to cooperate and stay home, do not come out for fun,” he said.

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