Cops warn Malaysians of drones and surprise visits to ensure Covid-19 MCO compliance during Hari Raya

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysian police warned that they would use drones or make surprise visits to households in the run-up to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive season to ensure that the public complies to the movement control order (MCO) which takes effect on Wednesday (May 12).

The MCO – the third since the start of the pandemic – was announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday as the government struggles to contain surging Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations in the country.

The police will use drones to detect the violation of MCO rules but its use will be subject to the request of district police chiefs in the state, Bernama news agency quoted the police as saying.

“At the same time, the public is advised to report any SOP violation during Aidilfitri festivities that happen in their residential areas to the police,” Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department (Operations) M. V. Sri Kumar told Bernama. He also said that for high-rise residential areas, police will check the visitors’ logs at the premises.

In the Petaling Jaya district of Selangor, police said they will deploy eight teams to make surprise visits to households to enforce rules on household visits and open houses.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Assistant Commander Mohamad Fakhrudin Abdul Hamid said police would tighten these checks-in the run-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri and cautioned that those planning to organise such events will face a RM25,000 (S$8,061) compound. Those caught visiting would face RM5,000 compounds, he said.

“We want to ensure that no one is organising open houses or entertaining visitors, which is prohibited, ” he told reporters on Tuesday. “During Hari Raya, they will be patrolling neighbourhoods, ” he said.

Under the current MCO, visits to cemeteries during the Hari Raya are banned. Only 50 people are allowed in mosques and surau, as small community mosques are called in Malaysia, with capacity exceeding 1,000; while 20 people are allowed in mosques that can accommodate fewer than 1,000 people, for Hari Raya prayers.

Meanwhile, Bukit Aman Traffic and Enforcement Department deputy director Senior Assistant Commander Mohd Nadzri Husain said police launched a week-long Ops Rentas operation to deter would-be border crossers for Hari Raya.

He said the exercise, which started on Monday, was also to ensure that those who had approval to travel interstate would adhere to all traffic rules.

During Ops Rentas, he said roadblocks would be set up along the North-South Expressway and the East Coast Expressway.

Under Ops Rentas, the highway network has been divided into five zones and 28 sectors. Roadblocks will be set up at scheduled times.

“The highway network will be divided into the northern, central A and B, southern and eastern zones.

“Roadblocks will not remain static in one location but will keep on changing after a few hours, ” he told reporters in Seremban when launching the operation which would be held until May 16. Datuk Mohd Nadzri said state police contingents had also set up 349 roadblocks in their areas.

He advised the people not to violate the interstate travel ban as offenders would not only be ordered to turn back but would be slapped with a compound for violating the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

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“We hope all Malaysians will give us their cooperation because we do not want the Covid-19 situation to worsen, ” he said.

Mr Mohd Nadzri said apart from accident hotspots, roadblocks along the highway would be set up at spots where people could make interstate crossing.

On complaints that such roadblocks would cause traffic congestion, he said the police had no other options.

“We need time to check the documents as there were cases where people had tried to cheat their way through using photocopies of letters and other fake documents, ” he said.

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Police, he said, would also use special equipment such as In Car Radar during the operation to detect those who flout traffic rules. The In Car Radar installed in patrol vehicles allows police to detect vehicles’ speed through radar and pull up their outstanding summonses on the spot.

Malaysia recorded 3,973 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, with the majority of the cases or 1,328 of them coming from the Selangor state, followed by Sarawak (512) and Kuala Lumpur (483). The country reported 22 new deaths from the virus, bringing the total death toll to 1,722.

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