Exceptions allowed for 10km travel rule, says minister

Police have been given the leeway to allow individuals to travel beyond 10km if it is truly necessary.

PETALING JAYA: Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says police have been given the leeway to use their discretion in allowing individuals to travel beyond 10km from their homes, as stipulated under the movement control order (MCO).

Ismail said while the restriction under phase two of the MCO was a general rule, police were allowed to make exceptions in some cases.

“We will allow people to travel more than the 10km radius to buy food at the nearest place if they cannot find food in their area,” he said at a press conference in Putrajaya.

The same rule also applies for interstate travel, for example between Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Ismail said he had heard of a case last night where several people were forced to cancel their trip to the hospital to get medical supplies as the centre was located outside the 10km radius.

“If it comes to health-related issues like going to a clinic, police will use their discretion to allow them to travel.”

Ismail also said the finance ministry had agreed to suspend the RM1 withdrawal fee from ATMs using the Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) network from April 6 until the MCO is lifted.

He said the government had learnt that many are still approaching bank cashiers to withdraw cash to avoid paying the fee, which had led to crowds at banks.

“So there is no need to rush to banks to withdraw money,” he added.

On a separate issue, Ismail said 483 individuals had been hauled to court for failing to comply with the MCO, which was put in place on March 18 to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police have also arrested 524 individuals for the same offence, he said, noting however a slight drop in arrests made since April 1.

Ismail also said the likes of Mara, the Public Service Department and Petronas would bear the costs of food and accommodation for students they sponsor who are stranded overseas due to travel restrictions following the outbreak.

He welcomed the initiative of private firms who wanted to help bring Malaysians home, but urged them to get in touch with the relevant authorities including the National Security Council and Immigration Department.