by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
SIX more states — namely Kedah, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Terengganu and Perlis — will be put under the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 from Jan 22 until Feb 4.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was made based on the Health Ministry’s (MoH) advice and risk assessment following the surge in Covid-19 cases in these states.
This move would make the whole country, save for Sarawak, come under the MCO 2.0.
“The standard operating procedures set for the MCO will apply in these states.
“Business operations will be from 6am to 8pm,” he said in a press conference yesterday.
Previously, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah, as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan will undergo MCO from Jan 12-26.
Kelantan was later included in the list from Jan 16-29, while Sarawak remains under the Conditional MCO (CMCO) as scheduled.
Ismail Sabri said the government will wait for MoH’s directive before deciding if an extension would be required in the states where the MCO is ending next week.
Regarding the people’s grouse over restaurants closing at 8pm, Ismail Sabri said the government is still discussing whether eateries should be allowed to extend their operating hours until 10pm during the MCO.
He said the National Security Council will discuss with the MoH regarding the proposal.
“We have received numerous demands for restaurants and food outlets to extend business hours from 6am to 10pm, as the current period have made it difficult for people to buy food after working hours.
“However, if we allow restaurants to open until 10pm, other sectors will also make similar requests,” he added.
On another note, Ismail Sabri clarified that Armed Forces personnel will not detain civilians caught violating the MCO, as their function remains to assist the police.
He noted that the army were given powers to detain individuals in the ongoing Ops Benteng to prevent the illegal entry of undocumented migrants into Malaysia.
The Emergency Ordinance gazetted on Jan 15 stated that Armed Forces personnel will have the same powers as the police for the duration of the emergency decree.
The minister said the power of arrest given to the army under the state of emergency will allow them to conduct Ops Benteng effectively.
Meanwhile, the Enhanced MCO imposed on Amber Court Apartment in Genting Highlands, as well as the Muar Moral Rehabilitation Centre, Johor, except Block C and school blocks ended as scheduled yesterday.
For MCO violations, 590 individuals were arrested on Monday, of which 553 were compounded, 35 remanded and two given bail.
Under Ops Benteng, 18 illegal immigrants were detained and 12 land vehicles seized.