KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 ― Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified that the interstate travel period (May 1-3) as mentioned by the police remains a mere suggestion for now.
The senior minister (Security Cluster) said that while those looking to travel can submit their applications from now up to May 1, the government will first take a look at the data obtained to decide when to allow interstate travel.
“We will collect this information from the police and then with the information, the National Security Council (NSC), police and the Health Ministry (MOH) will discuss and issue new SOP on how to allow people to return home,” he said today during his live press conference this afternoon.
Ismail said that the mechanism proposed by the police through the ‘Gerak Malaysia’ smartphone app was commendable, but clarified that the final decision on when and how authorities will manage the movement of people will be made by the NSC and MOH.
“They (the police) will need to escalate their suggestions to be discussed among ministers at the Cabinet level to be approved. After it has been approved then only we can set a date for the movement,” he said.
This comes after the police earlier released an explainer on how to apply for permission to travel interstate through the app, following the government’s decision to loosen several restrictions for those stuck in their hometowns.
Ismail then said the mechanism on how to manage the movement of those looking to return to the city from their hometowns or vice versa was a complicated matter in itself involving various factors.
He explained how he himself had personally received appeals from people separated from their spouses, children, and immediate family members as a result of the movement control order coming into effect midway through a school holiday period.
“It's not a straight forward case. As we have mentioned, there are those looking to come back from their hometowns to the city, and there are also those because of the MCO are stuck in the city.
“So this matter needs a more detailed discussion, it's not that simple,” he said.
Among other topics that need to be ironed out include a mechanism on how several family members travelling in one vehicle can observe social distancing.
Ismail then pointed out that the government’s first order of business is arranging and managing the return of university students from their campuses, which he said begins on Monday night before they can move on to the next batch of returnees.