Over 1,000 trying to ‘balik kampung’ turned back at state borders

Interstate travel remains prohibited under the current conditional movement control order.

PUTRAJAYA: Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob says over 1,000 commuters attempting to return to their home towns yesterday ahead of the Raya celebrations were told to turn back.

He said police stopped a total of 1,175 who tried to cross state borders “with this same excuse”.

“They ‘wanted to balik kampung’,” he said in his daily briefing here today.

He said he was surprised by such attempts as the government had advised against it.

“There is no need to travel to another state to return to your home town,” he said.

He added that it would only be troublesome for those wishing to return to their home towns if they were ordered to turn back.

Under present government regulations, only those with police permission are allowed to cross state borders.

Ismail also said 156 people had been arrested for breaching standard operating procedure (SOP), 104 of whom were remanded. The remaining 52 were released on bail.

He said the Construction Industry Development Board had ordered the closure of one construction site on May 16, bringing the total number of sites shut down to five.

Meanwhile, 150 sites found to be going against the SOP have been issued warnings.

Ismail said as of today, 16,240 people had been quarantined at 245 centres nationwide.

He said last night, the higher education ministry sent 1,646 students back to their respective home towns.

Meanwhile, 418 other students will be flown back to Bintulu, Sibu and Miri, Sarawak from Kuala Lumpur today.

On a related matter, Ismail said the health ministry, the higher education ministry and the Sabah government had decided to make Covid-19 swab tests compulsory for students from Sabah seeking to return home.

“This is as most of the students were staying at campuses located in green zones for over a month and displayed no symptoms. So we consider them as being free from Covid-19.

“Hence we decided that before they fly home, they will undergo a swab test and health screening. If they test negative, they will be allowed to return without undergoing quarantine at centres but at home.”

Last night, it was reported that Sabah health authorities had suspended the return of students from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak because quarantine centres in Sabah were filling up.

The federal higher education ministry cancelled all flights for students returning to Sabah at the request of the Sabah Health Department.

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