Armed forces personnel have begun their duties in assisting police to enforce the movement control order (MCO), which is now into its fifth day. Soldiers have been deployed to beef up the presence at police roadblocks, which is still at the stage where friendly advice is given to motorists to limit movement unless absolutely necessary.

It is hoped that the introduction of the military will reduce the number of people who are still moving about unaware or purposely ignoring the MCO, said inspector-general of police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador. He said that from a cooperation rate of just 60% earlier, 90% of people were now adhering to the order, but there were still 10% who were not.

“Considering that we have about 32 million people, 10% is still a lot. There are many out there who are either unaware or purposely ignoring the MCO. That is why we hope that the Armed Forces can help the police ensure that the situation remains under control and that the order is implemented,” he said.

The IGP rubbished rumours that tanks have been deployed at each roadblock, The Star reports. “This may sound funny, but this has been spread around to scare the public. I would like to stress that the Armed Forces are deployed to assist and give advice to the people in order to implement the MCO,” he said.

Meanwhile, defence minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said military personnel will also be assigned to help patrol supermarkets and markets to ensure the public adheres to social distancing rules and maintain a distance of at least one metre between one another, especially in crowded places.

“I want to advise consumers that we understand your need to buy your daily essentials, but please observe social distancing. That is why we have agreed for the police and the armed forces to be deployed at supermarkets and markets to help local authorities ensure people queue and don’t go inside in groups to reduce any risk,” he said.

Ismail reiterated that the deployment of the military was based on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), and not under the Emergency Ordinance, but urged everyone to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19. “At the moment, we are still at the stage where we give advice to the public. However, this could change to sterner action,” he stated.

Again, we remind everyone that if it is absolutely necessary for you to get provisions, medical supplies and food, please make it fast and limit the distance travelled for those purposes, and remember the one person per car rule. You can try switching to delivery services for food as much as possible, or at least on alternate occasions, in a bid to heed the government’s call to just stay at home.

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