Malaysia just banned interstate travel for everyone after thousands tried to ‘balik kampung’ for Hari Raya

Interstate travel in Malaysia will no longer be permitted, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on May 21, 2020.
Facebook/Ismail Sabri Yaakob

Interstate travel in Malaysia has been banned for everyone, the country’s Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday (May 21).

The decision was made during a Special Meeting of the National Security Council (MKN) after people thronged police stations to apply for permission to return to their hometowns ahead of the Hari Raya weekend, Bernama reported.

According to the state news agency, as many as 1,300 queued up at the Kuantan district police station on Wednesday for this purpose.

“So I want to stress that the meeting made a decision that interstate travel is not permitted. There is no need to stand in a long queue because the police will not give its permission, we will not allow interstate travel any more,” the minister told the press.

And while travel between districts is still allowed, he cautioned against doing so unnecessarily.

“If more than 20 people are gathered in the house that you are headed for, it is better to celebrate in your own home,” he said.

In a report by New Straits Times, Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying that 2,412 vehicles carrying people who tried to ‘balik kampung’ (return to their hometowns) on Wednesday were turned back at road blocks.

According to The Star, 3,212 vehicles were also turned back on Tuesday.

As of Thursday morning, traffic from the capital heading north and south of the PLUS Highway also slowed due to motorists hitting the roads to return home, The Star reported in a separate article.

“The people’s interest to go back to their hometowns did not change despite being repeatedly advised not to do so,” Ismail Sabri was quoted by NST as saying.

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