The government has announced that phase two of the movement control order (MCO) – which will introduce stricter enforcement measures – will begin on April 1. This was announced by defence minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a preearlier today.

He said that 828 individuals were arrested at roadblocks and during patrol rounds yesterday (Sunday), meaning that the police was taking sterner action than before against those who flout the MCO. Still, the aim is to get people being compliant with the order, which is in effect until April 14, and stay put where they are.

“Our target is not to increase arrests, our target is to reduce arrests. The more arrests there are everyday, it means that there are still a lot of people out there not complying with the order,” he explained.

He said that a total of 257,287 vehicles were checked at 1,520 roadblocks carried out yesterday, and added that the number of roadblocks is set to increase in phase two. These will include entry points into tolled roads across the country, which have already been increased from 23 at the early stages to 65 at present. The number of roadblocks at toll plaza entry points will continue to increase to 114 in phase two.

Ismail Sabri added that more than 67,000 police, army and Rela personnel were currently deployed for MCO operations, but more resources are available and capable of being introduced at any point if the situation demands it.

He said while phase two will be different than phase one of the MCO in terms of tighter measures, it will still allow for movement, and supermarkets – and restaurants for takeaways – will still be open as per normal, except with changes to operating hours. He reiterated once again that phase two is not a full lockdown.

Changes in phase two will include limiting the operating hours for all supermarkets, restaurants doing takeaways and petrol stations, with daily operating hours from 8am to 8pm being uniformly set for all. The ruling covers supermarkets/hypermarkets and all sundry shops, and also includes home deliveries.

Limited operation hours for public transport (LRT/MRT and stage buses) will continue as last scheduled, from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm daily, while taxis and ride-hailing vehicles will be permitted to operate from 6am to 10pm. For private individual vehicles, the one person per car ruling remains.

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. 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.