Kota Setar, Tawau Prison placed under EMCO

On another note, all food premises and convenience stores, except those under EMCO, will be allowed to open till 2am


THE Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) has been enforced administratively in 28 districts of Kota Setar, Kedah, as well as in Tawau Prison, Sabah, effective today until Sept 25.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the EMCO administration in Kota Setar districts will involve a total of 366,787 residents.

He said as part of the implementation, the international entrance at Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, will also be closed until the end of the EMCO.

“The special committee has decided to impose the administrative EMCO since the number of Covid-19 cases in Kedah, especially in the Telaga and Sungai clusters, are increasing.

“The EMCO in Tawau Prison and the prison quarters was decided after taking into account the Covid-19 outbreak inside the prison,” he said in his Recovery MCO press conference yesterday.

For Kota Setar, the 28 districts under EMCO include Langgar, Bukit Pinang, Gunung, Kuala Kedah, Sungai Baru, Kota Setar, Mergong, Titi Gajah, Alor Malai, Pengkalan Kudor, Padang Lalang, Kubang Rotan, Teluk Cengai, Teluk Kechai, Pumpong, Derga, Tajar, Limbong, Tebengau, Teluk Mas, Lengkus, Kangkong, Lepai, Hutan Kampung, Alor Merah, Anak Bukit, Sala Kechik and Padang Hang.

Ismail Sabri said ferries from Kuala Kedah jetty will not be allowed to operate during the EMCO in Kota Setar.

He added that all sports, social and recreational activities are disallowed, while all educational institutions, mosques and houses of worship were ordered to close.

For the EMCO in Tawau Prison, he said the lockdown will only affect the prisoners, prison staff and their family members who live in the prison area.

On another note, Ismail Sabri also announced that all food premises and convenience stores in the country, except for those under EMCO, will be allowed to open till 2am starting today.

He said the move was decided by the National Security Council yesterday, after many business operators complained about lack of income.

“We received many complaints, especially in tourist places like Langkawi. These operators have requested if we can extend the time for them to operate and we agreed to it. This is not just for Langkawi, but also for all other areas,” he said.

He added that all foreigners are now allowed to pray in mosques and at other houses of worship, provided they comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set.

Previously, the government had limited the number of people allowed within mosques and decided that it could only be used by locals.

Ismail Sabri said the government has identified six criteria on imposing the travel restrictions on high-risk countries, considering the potential of the third wave of Covid-19 infection during the winter season.

He said the criteria for assessing the risk of importing the virus infection is based on the Scoring Board: Merit System of the Ministry of Health which adopts data from the Europe Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Our World in Data.

“The six criteria include the number of Covid-19 cases in the last 14 days, the incidence rate per million population in the last 14 days, the death rate in the last 14 days per million population, the death rate of cumulative cases and also the recovery index and cases exceeding 150,000,” he noted.

The senior minister said by following these criteria, it will ensure the infections among imported cases are controlled and it will protect Malaysians from the threat of the third wave of Covid-19.

However, he said the travel restriction does not involve all parties because foreign diplomats and family members, as well as delegates from abroad (for matters related to bilateral relations) are still allowed to enter.

For expatriate pass holders and skilled workers, he said, they must first obtain approval from the Malaysian Immigration Department and a letter of support from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority or related agencies before entering Malaysia.

As for the upcoming election in Sabah, Ismail Sabri said the special committee has agreed with the proposed update of the new guidelines and SOPs presented by the Election Commission (EC).

He said Sabahans who are Covid-19 positive will be barred from voting in the upcoming state election, while those with symptoms will cast their votes separately.

He added that the public health authorities had given the EC the clearance to hold the state polls scheduled for Sept 24.

However, it will be conducted with strict protocols that include curbs on campaign programmes and mass gatherings, with limited number of attendees.