Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will block the entry of long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines starting from Sept 7 due to the sharp increase in positive Covid-19 cases in those countries.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the restrictions included six categories, namely, those with permanent resident status (PR), Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H), expatriates including professional visit pass holders (PVP) and resident pass holders.

Also blocked were couples to Malaysian citizens and their children as well as students from the three countries who wanted to return to Malaysia.

“In the past, I had announced some concessions (for the six categories), but looking at the sudden increase in cases, we decided to impose entry restrictions,” he said at a daily press conference on the recovery movement control order (RMCO), here, today.

The Defence Minister said the government would also review restrictions on long-term pass holders from other countries due to concerns of a sharp increase in Covid-19 positive cases in countries which were experiencing winter.

“We are looking into this matter and if there is a sudden increase then maybe we will issue the same order against those countries,” he said, adding that all decisions were made after getting advice from the Ministry of Health (MOH)

On Malaysians returning from those countries which were experiencing winter, he said the MOH had been asked to submit plans and action plans that needed to be implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“… more worryingly at the moment, there are Malaysians who will be returning from the countries undergoing winter, the government cannot block them from returning because it is against the constitution.

“I believe the Immigration Act also cannot block Malaysians from returning. Therefore, we (government) will see comprehensively what the next action is on this matter, “he explained.

Yesterday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said that MOH was prepared to face the possibility of an increase in Covid-19 cases from abroad in the next four months when winter envelop the countries concerned.

On the proposal to increase the rate of compound on those who violated the standard operating procedures of the RMCO, Ismail Sabri said the matter was still under study as it involved amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and Interpretation Act 1948 and 1967 (Act 388).

“Many are of the view that it be increased to RM10,000 if possible. In Act 342, the government has no choice but the maximum compound is only RM1,000,” he said.

According to Ismail Sabri, the matter was being investigated by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan together with the MOH. – Bernama