Despite it feeling comparatively normal and pre-Covid on the roads now under the current conditional movement control order (CMCO), two main barriers are still in place – our country’s borders are still closed and interstate travel is still not allowed.

As the CMCO will be in place till June 9, interstate balik kampung for this year’s Hari Raya is not allowed, and besides setting up roadblocks, the police has formed a special task force to identify individuals travelling interstate.

IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said yesterday that the task force, which the army is also a part of, had been tasked to carry out monitoring in residential areas and villages across the country to weed out travellers without permission, and balik kampung for Raya is not strong enough grounds to obtain the golden letter.

So yes, the cops and soldiers will be “on the hunt” in the kampungs, and one thing they will look for are houses with many cars parked outside. According to Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin, the teams will check the number plates of parked vehicles with their own database, The Star reports.

“We will cross-check the registration numbers with our list and see whether the vehicles and its owners are permitted for interstate travel. If we discover that there are those who flouted the ban on interstate travel, we will detain the vehicle owner, which is usually the head of family,” he said yesterday.

“Action will be taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and Police Act 1967. No more warning or advice, we will detain those who flout the CMCO by travelling interstate without permission,” he said, commenting on the IGP’s earlier announcement.

Bear in mind that the police and authorities already have the list of approved interstate travellers and their number plates (plus origin and destination) in their system, since you have to apply via app or manually at police stations before travelling.

With this list, a simple input of a parked car’s number plate will ascertain if you’re authorised to be where you’re spotted, or not. Your car’s number plate origins or your IC number isn’t even needed – if you don’t have the permission to be in say, Penang, but your car is seen in Bukit Mertajam, the cops can move. These days, number plates are free for all and are no longer exclusive to registrations in the state – one can have a new car with an R, J or P plate registered in KL, for instance – so the ‘list’ PDRM is talking about is the permission to travel interstate list.

Of course, the police’s first line of defence (sounds strange, when they’re protecting us actually) are the roadblocks, where those without travel approval will be asked to turn back. The police also have the power to issue compounds to unauthorised travellers.