The government says that public compliance to the movement control order (MCO), which is in place until April 14, has reached 97% due to more stringent enforcement by authorities, but defence minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that there are still many who are flouting the order.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, he pointed out that increased arrests and traffic were an indication of this. He said that the number of individuals arrested by the police on Saturday doubled from the 320 arrests made on Friday, as the Malay Mail reports.

“Yesterday alone, there were 649 individuals that were arrested, which means it doubled from the day before. And from the 649 who were arrested, 73 of them were charged in court and pleaded guilty, which means that despite sterner action being implemented, we find that many still disobey the orders,” he said.

“The police have been given the permission to take stern action. Those that will be done immediately is the issuance of compounds, besides bringing them to court,” he said.

He said that road traffic had also increased going into the weekend. On Friday, a total of 240,544 vehicles were checked at 1,045 roadblocks across the country, and the number increased on Saturday.

“From the day before to yesterday (Saturday), where 301,938 vehicles were inspected, that means there are still many vehicles on the road. That’s why the inspections have doubled, more than the day before,” he said.

Ismail Sabri reiterated at his press briefing yesterday that reports of a purported “lockdown” were untrue, reinforcing his clarification on Saturday that the MCO imposed in Malaysia is not a lockdown.

He said the government might possibly announce the new standard operating procedure for the MCO’s second phase today (Monday). Last Thursday, he said that stricter regulations will be enforced during the second phase of the MCO to ensure the measures taken to break the Covid-19 chain of infection achieves the desired goals.

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