A quiet, confusing start to Klang Valley CMCO

It’s not a complete ghost town as quite a number of people still have to go out to work

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

YESTERDAY was the first day of the reinstated Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in the Klang Valley and as expected, many places were in a familiar quiet state it once was not long ago.

The CMCO is enforced from yesterday until Oct 27 in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Putrajaya and Selangor, with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) already in place.

Although all economic sectors remain open under the CMCO, employers have been encouraged to allow their staff to work from home.

Hence, there were relatively fewer cars on the roads, with a much lighter morning traffic during the usual rush hours. There were also sights of police roadblocks at various spots to ensure that nobody crosses district borders without valid reasons.

Police officers have been stationed to check whether border crossers are equipped with working passes or permission letters.

Entering the capital, KL was a silent place compared to its usual hustling and bustling nature. It was not a complete ghost town as quite a number of people still had to go out to work.

Shopping malls had very few visitors, with restaurant and retail shop workers standing idly.

The scene was a vast contrast to a couple of days earlier, when many flocked the stores to stock up on groceries and other necessities.

Earlier, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (picture) said his ministry received information that there had been panic buying in several places shortly after the CMCO was announced.

He said although the panic shopping was small in scale and isolated, it needed to be addressed so as to not get out of hand.

“Once again, the ministry would like to advise all Malaysians to stay calm and not panic buy.

“The supply of goods, especially food items and necessities, is guaranteed to be adequate at a stable and reasonable price. The ministry ensures that food supply is not cut off during the CMCO period,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Consumers were advised to buy in reasonable quantities according to their needs as there is no need to store excess stock.

Nanta Linggi also encouraged consumers to make online purchases to reduce crowds at business premises.

For the most part, while Malaysians try their best to obey the SOPs, there was still a lot of confusion as to the dos and don’ts of the CMCO, especially among those who need to travel for work and medical appointments.

The National Security Council’s Facebook page was swamped with inquiries from frustrated Klang Valley residents.

“Is travelling between Ampang KL and Ampang Selangor considered as crossing districts?” asked one netizen under the name of Henry Corally.

“More clarity on KL districts, please,” pleaded one Lim Wee Lin.

“How many passengers can we have in our personal vehicles if we are to travel to work together?” asked Khong Shiau Ling.

Aminuddin Abdullah said he had called three different police stations and all three gave different answers when he asked about sending his son to the KL International Airport.

“One said I do not need a letter, just show the flight ticket; the second one said I cannot go, but to just put my son in a Grab car; and the last one said it is up to the police station’s consideration,” he said.

These are just a few among many other confusions expressed on the page.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said no interstate and inter-district travel is permitted except for emergency cases like funerals or medical treatment, which requires a permit from the police.

Ismail Sabri also said individuals who need to traverse Selangor and KL when travelling from one state to another must get permission from the nearest police station before embarking on their journey.

For those who take public transportations to work, the Light Rail Transit, Mass Rapid Transit, monorail services and express buses are still operating, while taxis and e-hailing services can only take in two passengers at a time.

Additionally, vehicles transporting workers are allowed with adherence to the SOPs, while interstate and inter-district travel is allowed for vehicles in the manufacturing and business sectors.