KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — The police will no longer carry out roadblocks in Malaysia from Monday onwards (December 7) as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced today.

Ismail Sabri said Malaysians no longer need to ask for the police’s permission to travel to different districts within a state, or even from state to state from December 7 onwards.

“As I mentioned, the need for balance between economic needs and health, as we know the recovery movement control order (RMCO) will end December 31 — don’t know if it will be extended or not — but life must go on, so a few relaxations have been agreed to at the special National Security Council meeting and already discussed with all including the Health Ministry.

“Among those agreed is for inter-state and inter-district movement to be allowed in the whole country except in EMCO (enhanced movement control order) areas, the rest we allow inter-district movement without police permission beginning December 7. There will be no more police roadblocks.

“But the orders to the police is that although no roadblocks, but to focus on compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs), so the police will focus on SOP compliance rather than roadblocks,” he said, adding that compliance with SOPs by the public is a way to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Based on subsequent clarifications made to the media, it is understood that this would mean that even those in areas under conditional movement control order (CMCO) such as Selangor and Kuala Lumpur would be free to travel to other states from December 7 onwards.

It is understood that the only travel restriction remaining within Malaysia will be in and out of EMCO areas.

“So I say we slowly give relaxation (on the rules). What is important is our own responsibility. We are the ones that take care of ourselves, we have to take care of our families. I think the best vaccine for Covid-19 is we ourselves — how we take care of our own health and SOP compliance that we practise.

“Even if we are allowed to go on holiday, we have to take care of the health of ourselves and our families. If we say we want to travel (“melancong”) to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur, if we feel we need to do swab tests, then we do swab tests to know our status so that we don’t infect others.

“That is our responsibility, it’s not orders from the government. We don’t say that to fly to Langkawi, there must be swab tests. No, but as I said just now, to take care of ourselves and we as citizens are responsible to protect those around us, so we do what we think is best for us and others, so that not only we ourselves are safe, but others are also safe.

“That’s why self-control is important, not only to control ourselves but those around us. Therefore, obey each SOP that is imposed to ensure we and society are safe,” he said.

No more passenger limits

Ismail Sabri also said that vehicles would be allowed to carry the normal capacity of passengers.

“Secondly, for vehicles, we no longer limit the number in vehicles. The total is based on the seating capacity. If the usual car’s seating capacity is four, then it is four. If MPV (multi-purpose vehicle has seating capacity for seven, then it is seven, based on vehicle capacity,” he said.

Previously, the government’s CMCO rules only allowed two persons from the same household in private vehicles and three persons in taxi or e-hailing services, including the driver. This rule was later revised on November 13 to allow three persons (including driver) from the same household in private vehicles as well, following a backlash from the public.

Under the recovery movement control order (RMCO), the government did not impose any limit on the number of persons or passengers in vehicles.

Ismail Sabri’s announcement on the lifting of interstate travel restrictions and the lifting of the passenger limit in vehicles comes after his announcement the same day on the lifting tomorrow of the CMCO in most states in the country.

Today, he said the CMCO will be extended to December 20 for Kuala Lumpur, all of Selangor (except the districts of Sabak Bernam, Hulu Selangor and Kuala Selangor), Sabah, the Kulim district in Kedah, while four districts in Johor (Kota Tinggi, Johor Baru, Batu Pahat, Kulai) will also have CMCO from December 7 to December 20.

The CMCO will end tomorrow in Putrajaya, Labuan, Penang (except certain areas), Perak (except certain areas), Kelantan (except four districts) and Negri Sembilan (except the Seremban and Port Dickson districts).

The full list can be viewed here.

States and locations where the CMCO will be lifted tomorrow will return to being under the RMCO.

Johor (except for the four districts), Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah, Perlis, Melaka and Sarawak will remain under RMCO until December 31.

It is unknown for now if the RMCO will be extended past December 31.