Putrajaya debunks rumours of military taking over police MCO duties

Hariz Mohd

Modified 22 Mar 2020, 7:16 am

CORONAVIRUS | Putrajaya has denied rumours that the military is taking over the police's tasks to enforce the movement control order (MCO).

Senior minister Ismail Sabri told a press conference today that the involvement of the Armed Forces in observing MCO compliance starting today is only to assist the police.

He stressed that enforcement of the order was also made under the Health Ministry Act, and not under the country's emergency law.

"There have been many untrue stories being circulated, even to the extent that military tanks would be stationed at all roadblocks.

"It might sound funny, but this is the story that has been going around, created to create fear among the public.

"Like I have said before, the presence of Armed Forces personnel is to assist, together with the police in advising the public," he said.

The power to arrest anyone found violating the order is also at the hands of the police, Ismail added.

"Those who said the soldiers are taking over police duties, that is not true at all," he said.

According to Ismail, the soldiers would be assisting police at roadblocks, guarding hospitals, patrolling in cities and rural areas, announcement rounds and crowd control at supermarkets and daily markets which areas where the public did not comply with MCO.

He said based on the report from the police, the rate of MCO compliance has increased to 90 percent as of yesterday.

However, this was still not enough as 10 percent from 32 million people is not a small number.

"10 percent means 3.2 million people. Still a lot. And we also found that there are many areas where the people did not realise, or purposedly not realising about the MCO enforcement.

"So we hope today that with the assistance from the Armed Forces, the situation would be a lot more under control," Ismail said.

Besides soldiers, the government is also mobilising Rela volunteers and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel to assist with enforcement.

Local councils have also been roped in to assist the police in monitoring supermarkets and daily markets at their respective jurisdiction.

"In total, the number of personnel mobilised is around 50,000, including police, soldiers, Rela and MMEA, as well as local council enforcement officers."

Ismail said the distribution of personnel on duty is determined by a special task force chaired by inspector-general Abdul Hamid Bador.