Ismail Sabri: Many attempted to ‘balik kampung’ yesterday after govt announced on-the-spot compounds will begin today

A police personnel inspects a driver’s travel documents during a roadblock at the Jawi Toll Plaza in Penang May 19, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A police personnel inspects a driver’s travel documents during a roadblock at the Jawi Toll Plaza in Penang May 19, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the number of people attempting interstate travel to return to their hometowns for Hari Raya Aidilfitri increased yesterday as many tried their luck before police start implementing on-the-spot compounds today.

He said that his announcement yesterday had likely prompted an even larger number of vehicles trying to cross state borders in a bid to return to their hometown for the Hari Raya festivities beginning this weekend.

“In the 154 police interstate roadblocks that was set up, 264,280 vehicles were checked and 2,539 vehicles were found attempting to cross state borders with the excuse of returning to their hometown. They were told to turn back.

“Perhaps after I had announced there would be no more interstate travel allowed, many tried to take advantage and attempted to cross last night before summons are issued today. We shall see how many get compounded from now,” he said during his daily press briefing this afternoon.

The highest number of attempted border crossings was from Malacca at 886 vehicles, followed by Perak with 362 and Penang with 284.

The government announced yesterday it would not allow any more interstate crossings after thousands of vehicles attempted to cross state borders to balik kampung for the holidays. It also detected a case of one Kelantan woman who had travelled from Ampang in Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Krai in Kelantan to deliver her baby but was later found to be positive for Covid-19.

Ismail Sabri also said that even husbands and wives who were separated now would likely not be able to spend Hari Raya together as the government is serious in not allowing anymore interstate crossings.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re husband and wife if we say no more interstate, then no more interstate travel.

“I will leave it to the discretion of the police but when we say no more interstate travel, we mean it. We have repeatedly said you cannot go back for Raya and many still attempted to do so,” he added.

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