Interstate travel — are we within the letters of the law? — Hafiz Hassan

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates.


OCTOBER 12 — Malay Mail’s report “Oh, oh, oh ‘balik kampung’ joy as Malaysia lifts interstate travel ban after months of lockdown” captures well the joyous greet of Malaysians to the federal government’s announcement of the reopening of the state borders on Sunday. 

Like many Malaysians, I was also behind the wheel yesterday, hitting the highway to Kuala Lumpur — not to ‘balik kampung’ but to an official meeting.

A general view of traffic at the North-South Highway heading towards North October 11, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A general view of traffic at the North-South Highway heading towards North October 11, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Now legally, all States and Federal Territories in Malaysia are still being “threatened with an epidemic of an infectious disease namely Covid-19” and therefore declared to be “infected local areas.” This is pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) Order 2020 [PU(A) 87/2020].

The declaration of infected local areas has been extended to last until the end of the year pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Declaration of Infected Local Areas) (Extension of Operation) (No. 2) Order 2021 [PU(A) 313/2021].

In short, each state is an infected local area. And lest we forget, each state remains under control movement order (MCO) pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within Infected Local Areas) (National Recovery Plan) Regulations 2021 [PU(A) 293/2021]. The regulations thereunder are made by the Minister of Health in exercise of the powers conferred by section 11(2) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 [Act 342].

The regulations remain in force. Regulation 5(1) states as follow:

“No person shall, during any designated phase, move from one place to another place within any infected local area, from one district to another district within any infected local area or from one infected local area to another infected local area.”

Interstate travel is therefore prohibited. So is inter-district travel.

However, the Director-General of Health (D-G) “may issue any directions and conditions for the purposes of movement of any person, during any designated phase, from one place to another place within any infected local area, from one district to another district within any infected local area or from one infected local area to another infected local area.” [Regulation 5(2)]

Any directions and conditions issued by the D-G “shall be published in the website of the National Security Council” (NSC). [Regulation 5(3)]

The law is the law. The D-G is the authority to issue directions and conditions for travel within a state or interstate — each state being an infected local area.

I can’t seem to find the D-G’s directions on the website of the NSC. Neither is there any gazette of the D-G’s directions, either as PU(A) or PU(B).

Are we within the letters of the law? Or have we forgotten the law?

*This is the personal opinion of the writer our publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

You May Also Like

Related Articles