by BERNAMA/ graphic by MZUKRI
THE use of drones by the authorities during the third phase of the movement control order (MCO) has proven to be effective in giving announcements and alerts to the public to comply with the directive to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The drones were introduced in the first phase of the MCO and the technology was extensively used by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) to convey information as well as monitor the movement of the people.
The drones are equipped with loudspeakers to make announcements in three languages namely Malay, Chinese and Tamil, for the public to stay at home.
The main areas where drones have been deployed are the COVID-19 hotspots and Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) areas including Simpang Renggam in Kluang, Johor; Sungai Lui in Hulu Langat, Selangor and around Masjid India here.
Armed Forces Chief Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang said the use of drones was extended to the third phase as it was effective in conveying information and ensure that the public continues to obey the MCO.
Without disclosing the number of drones being used, Affendi told Bernama that ATM will continue using drones especially to ensure that people comply with the MCO fully.
Meanwhile, Head of Drone Unit of the Air Operation Team (PGU) Supt Rasha Azaldin Shafii said the use of this technology has achieved its objective especially in terms of giving announcements and alerts.
PDRM was tasked to take lead and coordinate the drone operations for the Armed Forces and other private agencies, he added.
“The number of existing drones is maintained during the third phase of the MCO, focusing on marketplaces, residential areas, and villages nationwide,” he said.
Rasha Azaidin said the drones will also capture pictures and videos at the MCO assigned locations to assist police personnel from district police headquarters and contingent to plan their enforcement tasks.
On March 23, Bernama reported that ATM and PDRM launched the use of drone technology and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology to monitor compliance with the MCO, which is currently in force to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador was reported to have said the drones were to assist in the deployment of personnel to the red zone areas.