RMCO: 100pc increase in traffic volume on Malaysian highways, says senior minister

A general view of the traffic on the North South Highway on the first day of the conditional movement control order May 4, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A general view of the traffic on the North South Highway on the first day of the conditional movement control order May 4, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

PUTRAJAYA, June 11 — The number of vehicles plying on major highways in the country has increased by 100 per cent on the first day of the implementation of the Recovery movement control order (RMCO) yesterday following the lifting of interstate travel ban.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, for example, the number of vehicles plying on the North-South Expressway (PLUS) had increased to 2.04 million yesterday compared with 1.2 million recorded one day earlier, while the Karak Highway also recorded an increase, from 37,789 to 85,985 vehicles yesterday.

Ismail Sabri, who is also the Defence Minister, said the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) would continue to monitor traffic flows at all highways and rest and service (R&R) areas to ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) were adhered to by all motorists returning to their hometown.

“Don’t congregate too densely at the public toilets, or in the suraus, as well as at the food stalls and I hope everyone will be complying with the SOPs,” he told a daily press conference on RMCO here today.

Ismail Sabri also reminded the people wanting to travel home to drive carefully as there was a spike in fatal accident cases following the relaxation of interstate travel during RMCO. 

On border control, Ismail Sabri said 704 undocumented migrants and 125 skippers were detained between May 1 and yesterday for trying to enter the country’s borders illegally, especially through rat trails (lorong tikus).

Also detained were 12 suspected human traffickers and 14 boats, he said.

He said during the same period, the country’s enforcement agencies had successfully turned away 164 illegal immigrants, six skippers and 26 boats for trying to encroach into the country’s borders.

“The PDRM has also set up 49 roadblocks under its ‘Ops Benteng’ operations nationwide and inspected 40,969 vehicles to curb the entry of illegal immigrants, especially along rat trails,” he said.

Commenting on inspections on construction sites, Ismail Sabri said as of today, 7,424 construction sites nationwide had been inspected by the Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia (CIDB).

“Of the total, 1,625 construction sites found to be in compliance with the SOPs, another 352 have been issued with warning, while 15 sited have been ordered to shut for flouting the SOPs and the remaining 5,432 construction sites are still in operation,” he said.

Asked about the need for contract workers to undergo swab tests before doing work such as home renovations, Ismail Sabri said the rules applied to foreign workers only.

However, he said, it would also depend on the host and the joint management body of the residential areas if they wished for the screening test to be conducted on local contractors and workers too in order to protect the health and safety of the local community.

On complaints pertaining to traders who failed to comply with the SOPs such as body temperature screening and recording customer attendance, Ismail Sabri said customers could report the matter to the compliance operation task force on SOPs, such as the police.

“Lodge a report against the business premises and their actions (of flouting the SOPs). If there are businesses flouting the SOPs, we can either issue a compound or bring them to court or order their businesses to shut,” he said.

On private kindergartens and tuition centres, Ismail Sabri said the Education Ministry was preparing the SOPs and the reopening date would be announced in the near future.

Touching on swimming pool activities, he said the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) would hold an engagement session with the sports industry players and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as well as the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to work on detailed SOPs tomorrow before presenting them to the National Security Council (MKN) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“Many have been applying to the Youth and Sports Ministry for training at swimming pools, but as such activities are still not permitted, they will be discussing on several recommendations to be presented to MKN and MOH,” Ismail Sabri said. — Bernama


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