Stricter enforcement against those defying the movement control order (MCO) appears to be working, because the number of offenders are dropping, said senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said that the number of people being arrested for MCO-related offences had decreased over the past couple of days, The Star reports. On Saturday, the police arrested 368 individuals during the patrols and roadblocks, and this was an improvement over Friday, when there were 413 arrests, he said during a press briefing yesterday.

He explained that some who were arrested were charged under the Penal Code, which brought a harsher penalty. “Some not only disobeyed the MCO, but also prevented public officials from carrying out their duties,” he said.

Ismail reminded Malaysians to continue to give their full cooperation to authorities during the MCO, and to not challenge the police or hinder the cops from carrying out their duties. In response to reports that the police was now adopting a harsher approach, he said that the police was just doing its job to protect the public and ensure compliance.

“Please cooperate with the police. Do not try to hinder their job or insult them. The ‘mood’ in terms of police enforcement has changed from counseling to being stricter, but what the police has done is not out of the ordinary, because it is to ensure the safety and welfare of the people. So, the police are doing this to help us all. So, cooperate with them,” he said.

He said the police, with the assistance of the army, conducted 745 roadblocks across the country and inspected 331,839 vehicles on Saturday.

The government has introduced tighter measures in the second phase of the MCO. This includes increasing the number of round-the-clock operations in many areas, including Subang Jaya and Gombak district. The cops have also been nabbing joyriders, and have been sentencing them almost immediately.

In MCO phase two, supermarkets, grocers, restaurants providing takeaways and petrol stations are all limited to 8am-8pm operating hours, and the same goes for food delivery services. Public transport operation hours are now from 6am to 10am and 5pm to 10pm daily, while taxis and ride-hailing vehicles will be permitted to operate from 6am to 10pm.

Please continue to heed the call to stay at home, and if you do head out, be mindful of the 10 km limit for the radius of travel and adhere to the one-person-per-car rule.

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