Armed forces chief Affendi Buang has rebuffed criticisms against military involvement in the enforcement of movement control order (MCO).
In a statement today, he said the armed forces’ role was to ensure MCO compliance, as the failure to stem the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus was not an option.
“In the first day of collaboration between armed forces and the police, there is no need to dispute to what extent that armed forces will play its role.
“This is because we need to act swiftly in whatever way in tackling the outbreak.
“Although we have an MCO compliance of 90 percent (yesterday), we cannot take the 10 percent non-compliance lightly. It is still a huge number as it involves approximately three million of the population,” he said.
“Failure is not an option for armed forces. When we are tasked to help the police, we inculcate discipline in Malaysians so they observe the order and legitimate instructions issued by the authority.”
He said a total of 7,500 army personnel were deployed to assist the police.
Putrajaya’s decision to rope in army personnel to enforce the MOC starting March 22 was not received well by some.
Armed forces and police veterans group Patriot called the move “too hasty” while activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri called for caution, stating “emergencies have always been used to expand authoritarian powers”.
Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang said the military involvement in the fight against Covid-19 would be better placed to boost medical facilities and other capabilities, instead of “patrolling purposes”.
Yesterday, senior minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob denied rumours that the military was taking over the police’s tasks to enforce the MCO.
Besides soldiers, the government is also mobilising Rela volunteers and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel and local councils.
“In total, the number of personnel mobilised is around 50,000, including police, soldiers, Rela and MMEA, as well as local council enforcement officers,” said Ismail Sabri.
Elaborating further, Affendi said the government had made a proper decision by roping in the army.
He said the armed forces agreed to focus at the high-risk locations such as morning markets and supermarkets which congregated by the consumers who failed to observe social distancing.
He urged the public not to be easily influenced by the fake information, images, video clips or audio clips which showed the armed forces being mobilised in a larger scale or engaging in inappropriate behaviour.
This not only spread untruth on how the MCO was enforced but also created panic among the public, he said. – MKINI
MALAY MAIL / MKINI