Wednesday, December 1

Interstate travel: Sabah to decide on Wednesday



KOTA KINABALU (Oct 10): The State Government will announce its stand on the Federal Government’s decision to allow interstate and international travels after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

He said the State Covid-19 Management Committee would deliberate on the Federal Government’s decision and table its proposals and recommendations to the Cabinet which would convene for a meeting on Wednesday for consideration.

Masidi, who is Sabah’s Covid-19 spokesperson, said the State Government would take into account the percentage of fully vaccinated adult population in Sabah, which was currently around 65 per cent, has not yet reached the 90 per cent prerequisite set by the Federal Government to allow for interstate travel.

“Sabah remains under the zoning travel system where control on cross-district travel out from the zones is still being enforced.

“The State Government’s stand will be announced on Wednesday after the Cabinet meeting,” he said when asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement on allowing interstate and international travels for those who have completed vaccination beginning on Monday (Oct 11).

On Thursday, Masidi said Sabah might not follow the other states in opening its borders when inter-state travel was allowed in the country as Sabah had not achieved a better Covid-19 vaccination rate.

He said Sabah would have its own rules considering that the fully vaccinated adult population was only around 65 per cent in the state.

The Prime Minister announced on Sunday that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can travel freely to almost everywhere in the country from Monday (Oct 11).

The lifting of the prohibition does not apply to visits to localities placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

Ismail Sabri said the government agreed to lift the interstate travel ban after the Covid-19 vaccination rate of the adult population in Malaysia hit 90 per cent.

“With this decision, Keluarga Malaysia (the Malaysian Family) can travel freely to visit their hometowns, go on holidays and so on,” he said, adding that there is no necessity for the people to obtain police permits to travel.

The prime minister also said: “I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Keluarga Malaysia for their cooperation in complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and for supporting the Covid-19 immunisation campaign.”

The interstate travel ban was enforced on May 10 following the Movement Control Order announced by then Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after a drastic spike in Covid-19 cases in the country and as part of efforts to contain a third wave of the pandemic.

The nationwide MCO was first enforced from March 18, 2020 until May 3, 2020.

MCO 2.0 was then implemented in six states, namely Penang, Selangor, the Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah from Jan 13-26 before it was extended for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang until March 4.

Ismail Sabri also reminded Keluarga Malaysia not to be complacent with the flexibilities given as the concessions were important to facilitate the reopening of Malaysia’s economy as well as safely prepare for life in the endemic phase.

He said Covid-19 cases could spike again if the matter is taken lightly, while also describing the public as frontliners who must protect their families and the community from the deadly virus.

“If there is a need to return home to meet your parents or to travel interstate, Keluarga Malaysia is advised to undertake Covid-19 self-tests before your journey. Those with symptoms such as fever, cough, flu and breathing difficulties, I advise you to postpone your trip.

“If you test positive, quarantine yourself or contact the nearest Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) for immediate treatment,” he said.

He also said that anti-crime roadblocks and inspections conducted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) will continue.

Ismail Sabri said unvaccinated teenagers and children aged 12 and under could still travel interstate with their parents or guardians, but added that it was the responsibility of parents and guardians to protect them from Covid-19 infection with the SOPs set.

The prime minister also said that the decision to allow interstate travel will not be rescinded even if there was a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“The reopening (of state borders) will continue even if there is an increase in Covid-19 cases. We will only close premises that report cases of infection, for example in Langkawi, we only closed that one hotel,” he said.

Ismail Sabri urged Malaysians who are yet to be vaccinated to do so immediately as they would then be able to enjoy privileges such as interstate travel, holidays in and out of the country, dine-in and so on.

“Vaccines reduce the risk of infection, prevent serious symptoms and reduce the risk of Covid-19 related fatalities and also the burden on the healthcare system,” he said.

He said Health Ministry data showed that vaccination had successfully reduced the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate by 83 per cent and fatality rate by 88 per cent.

Meanwhile, Sarawak will open its border for fully-vaccinated Malaysians from other states without any need for a police permit from today.

“However, individuals who wish to enter Sarawak are still required to submit their applications through EnterSarawak online, together with the proof of their full vaccination status,” the state Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) secretariat said in a statement.

It added that they must also submit the negative results of their RT-PCR or RTK Antigen tests which are valid for three days.