Defence Minister Bans All Interstate Travel After Thousands Seen Trying To Balik Kampung
Traffic has been building on major highways as thousands try to return to their hometowns despite the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO)
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), traffic was gathering along the North-South Expressway (NSE) since last night, 20 May, with people trying to leave the capital ahead of the Hari Raya weekend.
"There are thousands of vehicles on the highway," a staff member from the PLUS highway coordinating centre was quoted as saying by FMT, adding that there were standstills at four locations.
He said the traffic was worst at Tanjong Malim and Putra Mahkota areas from Sungai Besi to Seremban, KLIA, and Skudai.
In addition to increased vehicles on the road, the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) reported that the severe congestion was caused by police roadblocks trying to stop people from crossing state borders.
Looking at the situation, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has decided to completely ban all interstate travel
"We have decided not to allow interstate travel at all," he said at the daily national defence press conference today, 21 May, reported New Straits Times.
"So you don't need to queue at police stations. The police will not allow anyone to travel interstate anymore."
Interstate travel was initially only allowed for emergency purposes and with police permission.
With the CMCO in force until 9 June, only inter-district travel within the same state is allowed.
The Defence Minister also said starting today, those who try to sneak across states would not only be told to turn back but also be compounded right on the spot
"Yesterday, 2,412 who tried to travel interstate to balik kampung were told to turn back," he said.
"[But] the people's interest to go back to their hometowns did not change despite being repeatedly advised not to do so."
He reiterated that the government was serious in preventing interstate travel and added that the authorities would not compromise or tolerate anyone flouting the rules.
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