According to deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a total of 4,839 vehicles were ordered to turn back at roadblocks last Friday, the highest number since the National Recovery Plan (NRP) was implemented on June 1, 2021.

As reported by Bernama, Ismail Sabri said that those ordered to turn back were believed to be heading to their hometowns to celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha, which falls on July 20 and 21 (certain states). “[The] police will take stern action against any individual who tries to cross states to return to their hometowns and disobey instruction,” he added.

On Sunday, police inspected 381,952 vehicles at roadblocks nationwide to prevent interdistrict and interstate movements. On the latter, documents from the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) will not be accepted as a valid movement permit from July 18-21 to prevent irresponsible individuals from misusing such documents to be able to travel out of state.

Ismail Sabri said this is the curb the possibility of new Covid-19 cases emerging from community clusters linked to the upcoming celebration. Recalling the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration in May that saw a spike in the number of cases and clusters, he said this should be a lesson to all parties not to take lightly the compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP).

“The interstate travel ban and the ban on visiting and celebrating festivals during the pandemic does not mean that we do not love our parents and families, who are in their hometowns. On the contrary, it is a more responsible choice in order to protect our loved ones,” Ismail Sabri said.