It took just 12 hours for more than 300,000 interstate travel permit applications to flood in via the Gerak Malaysia app, but not everything is what it seems, and not everyone is who they say they are. According to the police, only 100,000 applications have been from those who have been stuck in their hometowns since the movement control order (MCO) began and were now seeking to return to their homes in major cities, Bernama reports.

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Huzir Mohamed reminded the public that only those who were already at their hometowns when the MCO began on March 18 will be potentially considered for travel permission, and advised everyone to cooperate by applying for the permit according to the prescribed valid reasons.

He said the cooperation of all parties is important to ensure the application system benefited those who need to travel interstate. “The figure is expected to double by April 29. It is very important for police to ensure each application received is only for permitted purposes, so that plans for interstate movement will proceed smoothly,” he said via a statement.

Huzir was reported to have said that those eligible would be able to travel between May 1 and 3, but senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has since clarified that the date of travel for those in their hometowns back to their destinations is not starting on May 1.

Ismail Sabri said that no timeframe had yet been set for people to actually return as it was still being discussed. He added that once the number of applications had been established, the National Security Council (NSC), police and the health ministry will determine the next course of action and come up with an standard operating procedure (SOP).

The only confirmed permitted travel movement thus far involves IPTA (public university) and IPTS (private university) students who have been stranded in campuses since the MCO began. They will be able to begin making the journey home in stages from today (April 27).