Military to be mobilised if M’sians remain stubborn, says Defence Minister

19 Mar 2020 / 15:00 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The government may be forced to mobilise the army if the public continues to disregard the two-week movement control order (MCO).

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said during the first day of the movement restriction on Wednesday, only about 60% of Malaysians obeyed the order, a figure he said was relatively poor.

“We discussed in our meeting earlier, and decided that if the situation is still not under control, then we will most likely have to use the army.

“At the moment, I believe there is no need for such measure. But if the compliance rate among the public remain at 60 or 70 per cent, then we have no choice,” he told a press conference, here, yesterday.

The senior minister said this after attending a special ministers’ meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on the implementation of the movement control order.

Ismail however said he was confident more would comply with the government’s MCO and that the police would also be able to control the situation.

According to Ismail, the decision to set up police road blocks nationwide only came after many Malaysians ignored the MCO announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which is supposed to be in effect from March 18 to 31.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) alone, 504 road blocks were set up and 6,135 vehicles were stopped to be checked.

“But as of now, the police are only taking a soft approach by advising the public to stay at home. I think if this still doesn’t work, then the cops will be forced to take stricter action,” he said.

On the 300,000 Malaysians who are currently employed in Singapore, Ismail said following discussions with its counterpart, the government has agreed to allow these individuals to continue working in the republic, provided that employers there provide accommodations for them.

He added all ministries have also been ordered to set up their respective hotlines during the 14-day partial lockdown.

“This is to ensure that the public can contact the ministries directly on specific issues, as they would know best on the matter,” he said.

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