By now many would have seen for themselves that the amount of vehicles on the road have increased of late compared to the early days of the movement control order (MCO). If you’ve not ventured out yourself, you might have seen viral videos of long queues at police roadblocks or read the account of a Grab driver.

Now, many will automatically assume that most of those vehicle occupants are clogging up the roads for non-essential reasons or even contravening the MCO. But police have now revealed that about 70% of motorists on the road during the MCO period are actually those who work essential services, and they possess the necessary approval letter from the National Security Council (NSC).

Bukit Aman traffic investigation and enforcement department director Datuk Azisman Alias also revealed that a further 25% of motorists are shoppers, and that they followed the one-person-per-car rule. However, those out to get essentials should travel during non-peak hours for everyone’s good.

“Those who want to buy essential items are advised to go during the non-peak hours to avoid getting caught in traffic jams and to make way for those working in the essential services sector,” he said at a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday, reported by Bernama.

Azisman said that the police were conducting a thorough check at each roadblock to ensure MCO compliance, and so that people would not leave home without a valid reason. “I call on the public to comply with the MCO and don’t act selfishly when at the roadblocks. Police have also put up signages or notices about 500 metres to one kilometre from the location where a roadblock is being mounted to facilitate and alert road users,” he said.

The top traffic cop also reminded all his colleagues who were tasked with manning the roadblocks to maintain their professionalism and remain patient while carrying out their duties, especially in the coming fasting month of Ramadhan.

Adding 70% with 25% leaves 5% unaccounted for. Perhaps that’s the minority moving around with no good reason. Some have been arrested, while some are from non-essential companies trying to restart operations, which is not allowed. Last week, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reminded companies to not reopen unless permission is given by the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI).

“The NSC had been informed by the police that one of the reasons for the increase in traffic was due to many companies not involved in essential services having taken the opportunity to resume business (from last Monday). I remind all businesses in any sector that they can only start operating again if they get approval from MITI. Before MITI gives the green light, they can’t resume operations, and action can be taken against those violating the regulations,” the defence minister said.

As of yesterday evening, Malaysia once again recorded below 100 new Covid-19 cases (84) to make it 5,389 in total, with 89 deaths. The curve may have been flattening of late, but we’re not out of the woods yet, so please stay at home unless it’s for essentials. If you do need to head out, stay within a 10 km radius, follow the one-person-per-car rule, bring a utility bill as proof or residence, and as advised, travel during non-peak hours to reduce congestion.

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