Malaysians caught trying to balik kampung during CMCO
Vehicles piling up on highways is a common sight for Malaysians who drive. But with many playing it safe by sticking at home even as guidelines are relaxing under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), viral images of traffic jams stretching as long as 6KM on highways were reported yesterday (21 May).
But not all too surprising – they were caused by roadblocks set out to curb interstate travels after it was reported that 14% of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia were those with travel history. This is why all interstate travel is now banned and vehicles caught without travel permits will be issued compound fines.
Traffic jams reported on highways yesterday
Photos of mile-long traffic jams on highways nationwide were shared by Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) on their Twitter account on 21st May 2020, @LLMinfotrafik. Updates showed cars at a standstill on highways such as PLUS North and South Highways, ELITE and NKVE.
This also included 4.5KM of traffic reported at Southville City heading towards Putra Mahkota in Bangi. 2 photos posted on the same day showed little changes in the span of 3 hours. Recent updates on @LLMinfotrafik sees cars piling up today too.
Netizens have also taken to sharing videos and photos of these traffic jams that they have been seeing. A viral video shared on Facebook by Siakap Keli shows 6KM of cars stuck in traffic from Lembah Beringin heading towards Tanjung Malim yesterday.
Image credit: Siakap Keli
Another viral photo shared on Facebook by Autobuzz yesterday also sees a hold-up in cars late into the night at Jalan Duta Toll (Northbound).
Image credit: AutoBuzz.my
Interstate travel now banned in Malaysia
The Star reports that many of these vehicles caught in traffic jams were trying to balik kampung during CMCO with Hari Raya Aidilfitri just a day away. A whopping total of 271,646 vehicles have also been checked at 149 active interstate roadblocks nationwide.
Many are said to have successfully escaped these roadblocks by using alternate routes. Those who have done so can expect to be penalised once they return.
In response, all interstate travel is now banned, as reported by New Straits Times. Only exceptions made for emergency cases with existing permits. Previously, Malaysians could apply for permits to cross states for humanitarian reasons, such as spouses wishing to be reunited.
Image credit: Malay Mail
With warnings not doing the trick, compound fines are now issued to vehicles caught at these roadblocks without travel permits. Now motorists can expect compound fines the moment they are caught while also being told to turn back, also reported by The Star.
Bernama reports yesterday that a man from Melaka was fined RM1,000 after being found visiting his diabetic dad at his kampung home without a travel permit. This comes as the police and army personnel have been doing house-checks during Raya to curb interstate travel.
Vehicles caught in traffic jams trying to cross interstate roadblocks
It’s no easy time for Malaysians having to give up on years of tradition, including returning to their hometowns for Hari Raya celebrations. But with states like Kelantan losing green zone statuses due to interstate travellers, it’s a cause for caution.
This is why it’s important to stay put at this time while Malaysia tries to keep COVID-19 contained so we can all finally have virus-free streets.
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