Only those who were already at their hometowns when the movement control order (MCO) began on March 18 are allowed to apply for permission for interstate travel to return to return to the cities, said Bukit Aman CID director Commissioner Datuk Huzir Mohamed.

He said that applications via the Gerak Malaysia app, which is downloadable via Google Play, Apple App Store and Huawei AppGallery, would ensure that authorities have the necessary data to plan the movement accordingly. He added that the app was to stop big groups from going out to apply for permission at police stations, thus preventing an unnecessary risk of exposure to Covid-19, The Star reports.

The app will collect personal information such as name, mobile number, identity card number, address and email. Applicants will need to permit the app to track their locations via their smartphones to authenticate their current location. The application will continue to collect location data and maintain a record of the locations visited once it has been granted access.

Once approved, a successful applicant will be provided with a generated QR code, which will be scanned by personnel manning roadblocks when the travel is made. Huzir added that further details on the movement schedule and guidelines will be announced by the police on Wednesday.

As for the date of travel, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified that no timeframe had yet been set for them to actually return as it was still being discussed, despite the police having said that those eligible would be able to travel between May 1 and 3. He said that allowing people to return from their hometowns was not as straightforward as making arrangements for students stranded in campuses to return home.

“We are still gathering data. We will come up with an standard operating procedure (SOP) after a meeting between the National Security Council (NSC), police and the health ministry. We appreciate the SOP prepared by the police, but we must discuss it with the NSC and the health ministry first,” he said during his non-health press briefing yesterday.

Meanwhile, the police has outlined a number of restrictions and measures on the North-South Expressway during the travel period, and has advised those who will eventually travel to make the one-way journey home to take note of the following:

  • Restaurants and food stalls at all R&Rs will remain closed.
  • The surau at all rest stops will also be closed.
  • Only public toilets will remain open.
  • Motorists will be allowed to rest inside their vehicles at parking areas, but cannot step out of the vehicle unless going to the toilet.
  • No group prayers will be allowed at R&Rs facilities or in open or parking areas along the expressway.
  • Any group activity is prohibited.
  • Petrol stations along the route will be operational from 6am to 12am.

Besides interstate travel, Huzir said there were also procedures in place to process several other permits in the app. These include movement for medical reasons, grocery shopping within 10 km of one’s home, and for emergencies. However, he said that only applications for interstate travel were being processed at this point of time.