No need for MCO – Ismail Sabri


There is no necessity to re-implement the Movement Control Order (MCO) despite a surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the country, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said this was because most of the cases involved prison inmates in Kedah and Sabah, which can be considered as isolated.

“No…we are not declaring MCO because in Kedah for example, although 129 cases were recorded, 128 of them were from the Tembok Cluster which involved prison inmates there.

“While in Sabah, 35 cases were from the Benteng cluster involving a prison…although the remaining 78 cases are quite high, we have carried out control measures,” he told a press conference after attending the special National Security Council meeting on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin here today.

Ismail Sabri said COVID-19 cases in other parts of the country were still low except for Selangor with 31 cases but it has not reached the red-zone level.

“Only one or two cases were recorded in other states so this not a worrying matter.

“If we impose a nationwide lockdown just because one or two cases, we will end up enforcing MCO forever…,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said if necessary, the government would implement targeted enhanced movement control order in areas or localities categorised as a COVID-19 red zone.

As such, he said interstate or interdistrict travel restriction would not be imposed at the moment.

“I urge the people not to panic but do not take it (the current COVID-19 situation) lightly and be complacent…always practice a high level of self control as long as we have not found the vaccine,” he said.

On the claims that politicians who returned from Sabah had caused the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country, Ismail Sabri said of the more than 13,000 screenings conducted on returnees from the state, about 130 or only one per cent had been tested positive for the virus.

He said not all of them were politicians as there were also tourists and those who travelled to Sabah for work purposes.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the government did not impose the 14-day mandatory quarantine on those returning from Sabah as it the state is still within the country and categorised as interstate travel.

He said the mandatory quarantine is only imposed on those returning from abroad because it is difficult for the authorities to trace places they have visited as well as their close contacts.

On the actions of certain quarters who posted the pictures and names of individuals tested positive for COVID-19 on social media, Ismail Sabri said it is an offence under the Personal Data Protection Act.

“We have never disclosed their names as it is a breach of privacy,” he added.