MCO: Traffic increase this week due to more non-essential services companies sneakily trying to reopen

Initial reports of traffic having increased since the start of the week – resulting in long jams on many stretches when police roadblocks have been set up – have been corroborated by statistics from these roadblocks.

On Monday, 546,553 vehicles were inspected at 766 roadblocks nationwide, a jump of around 100,000 vehicles from the previous week’s daily average. This was pretty much the same on Tuesday, when 545,182 vehicles were checked at 799 roadblocks.

Yesterday, police increased the roadblock count to 813 across the country, and vetted 558,548 vehicles. This has prompted senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to remind people that movement control order (MCO) regulations are still in force.

“This shows that there are still a lot of cars out on the road. The number of cars is as if people have forgotten that the MCO is still implemented,” he said during his daily non-health press briefing earlier this evening.

The reason for the increase in traffic – and resulting jams – was also revealed. He said the national security council (NSC) had been informed by the police that one of the reasons for the increase in traffic was due to many companies not involved in essential services having taken the opportunity to resume business (from Monday), resulting in more people heading out to work and adding to the traffic woes.

On April 10, the government announced that it would allow selected economic sectors for business to reopen in phase three of the MCO, but under strict guidelines for health and movement. It was also stated that the selected industries and services permitted to operate would first have to apply to the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) to lift the restriction by submitting their registrations online from Monday, April 13.

In any case, it was later revealed that it was agreed only to operationalise certain businesses and services in the ‘Covid-19 green areas’ of the country, which at last count yesterday was just three in the Peninsular.

It would seem that many companies seem to have taken the “from Monday” statement as permission to start off business again, judging from the increase in traffic movement (and no doubt, the explanations by related staff to the cops at roadblocks).

Ismail Sabri said businesses cannot simply open unless they are listed under the essential services categories. “I remind all businesses in any sector that they can only start operating again if they get approval from MITI. Before MITI gives the green light, they can’t resume operations, and action can be taken against those violating the regulations,” he stated.

So, stay off the roads if you really have no reason to be on them. It just makes the lives of those in essential services harder, and you might even unwittingly end up being charged in court and sent to the locker.

Tags: COVID-19

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