Miti letter rejection due to cases of abuse to ‘balik kampung’

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Interstate travel approval letters issued by the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) for business and work purposes was disallowed for four days effective today as certain individuals were found to have abused them to return to their hometowns for the upcoming Aidiladha holiday period.

Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said a similar situation occurred during the Aidilfitri celebrations on May 12, which then triggered 36 Covid-19 clusters.

“I think everyone would have started their holidays today (in conjunction with Aidiladha). During the last Hari Raya Aidilfitri, hundreds of thousands travelled interstate with various reasons, including using the interstate travel letter meant for work.

“There probably are also those who use their ‘expertise’ to evade police by travelling through plantation roads and so on, but you can’t deceive Covid-19,” he told reporters after visiting the drive-through vaccination centre at the Jempol district office hall in Bandar Seri Jempol today.

Ismail once again reminded the public not to take their chances and try to cross districts or states for the upcoming holidays, and instead take heed from the spike in Covid-19 cases currently.

Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani in a statement last night said police will not accept documents from Miti as a valid movement permit for the four-day period from July 18 to 21 for interstate travel.

He said this followed the detection of an increased number of vehicles on the highways over the past few days.

Meanwhile, Ismail, who is also defence minister, said the ministry has yet to receive any application from the Health Ministry (MoH) for more field hospitals to be set up.

However, he added that the Defence Ministry was ready to build four more field hospitals to help contain the Covid-19 pandemic, this after the recruitment of 30 doctors and 100 healthcare workers on contract recently.

He said so far there were six field hospitals established in Pokok Sena, Kedah; Tawau, Sabah; Kapit, Sarawak; Kepala Batas, Penang, Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru and Labuan.