KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The government could reintroduce the original movement control order (MCO) if Malaysians continue ignoring the guidelines for the relaxed version currently in place, said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The senior minister stressed that restrictions from the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 remain in effect nationwide, with the government expecting full compliance in order to prevent the exponential growth of Covid-19 infections.

Putrajaya introduced the conditional MCO (CMCO) on May 4, effectively lifting most of the restrictions from original and replacing these with standard operating procedures (SOPs) aimed at community empowerment.

“I would like to remind everyone that the CMCO is not permanent and may be tightened again. This is subject to the public’s compliance with the easing of the MCO they now enjoy.

“If there are many rule-breakers, it is not impossible that the MCO, such as those from the first to third phase, will be re-introduced and restrict our movement again,” he warned the public in his daily press conference here.

Earlier, Ismail Sabri said he came across a video clip that went viral yesterday and depicted a massive crowd in Desa Pandan.

The minister initially thought it was fake and said he was surprised to learn the crowd shown was genuine when he contacted Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador who verified the clip.

“Therefore, if we want to continue to enjoy the current CMCO, it will very much depend on the public’s adherence to the existing SOP.

“To me, it is better to enjoy freedom with restrictions and eventually achieve full freedom when the CMCO ends,” he added.

A 13-second video clip uploaded to Twitter yesterday depicted a large crowd congregating near a row of food stalls in Desa Pandan, openly disregarding social distancing rules carried over into the CMCO.

In an attempt at allaying concerns over possible Covid-19 infections, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) explained that the situation returned to normal shortly after authorities arrived to control the crowd.

Today, Ismail Sabri also said the special task force set up to police violations of the SOPs issued had conducted 53,250 checks nationwide yesterday.

He also said the special ministerial committee decided in its meeting to end the advisory approach of the CMCO, with the special task force and the police now ordered to take action against those flouting the CMCO guidelines.