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200,000 defied travel ban to 'balik kampung' for Hari Raya

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 200,000 people defied the interstate travel ban to return to their hometown during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive period.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said some of the 'balik kampung' returnees had abused their work permission letters or used emergency as an excuse to obtain police permission letters to bypass roadblocks.

"When the government announced that interstate travel was banned during Hari Raya, many people were angry that they cannot balik kampung, and we were informed that 200,000 managed to pass the roadblocks.

"You can lie to the police but we can't lie to Covid-19 which is everywhere. As a result, there were many clusters linked to Hari Raya following the festivities with cases of deaths," he said in a press conference today.

He said that Malaysia would have ended up with 13,000 to 15,000 daily cases if the government had allowed interstate travel during Aidilfitri.

"Why the interstate travel was banned because the Health Ministry had forecasted such a situation.

"Tan Sri DG (Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) informed that cases would be from 13,000 to 15,000 if interstate travel and visitations were allowed during Hari Raya."

The dismayed Senior Minister also urged Malaysians to be honest when applying for permission letters from the police.

"Work permission letters issued by the International Trade and Industry Ministry will only be valid till May 31, starting June 1, the letter will be issued by the respective ministries based on the nature of work.

"After this, only those with the letters from relevant ministries and police would be allowed to make interstate travel.

"Please be honest when you apply for the interstate travel letter, there were instances where police had to reject genuine applications due to the dishonest applications, because of that some were not able to return home to visit their sick parents," said Ismail Sabri.

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