Malaysian police brace for surge in traffic as Malaysia lifts ban on interstate travel
PETALING JAYA — Thousands of Malaysians are expected to make trips either to their hometowns or for a short vacation after the government lifted the ban on interstate travel on Wednesday (June 10).
Police and highway authorities are fully prepared to ensure smooth traffic flows on expressways and major roads, especially during this weekend, as traffic is expected to increase.
The authorities expect that the high traffic volume heading out of the Klang Valley would start as early as Friday evening as city folk make their long-awaited trips.
Selangor Traffic Enforcement and Investigations chief Supt Azman Shariat said that to ensure smooth traffic flow, an operation dubbed Ops Lancar would be implemented throughout the weekend.
“We are sending more traffic police out on the roads. Besides monitoring the traffic situations, their presence could discipline the motorists. Please be patient, respect the traffic laws and be considerate with each other and we will be able to avoid any untoward incident,” he added.
PLUS Malaysia said daily traffic volume was expected to increase by 15 per cent compared to last month.
PLUS managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said this was based on the steady increase in daily traffic volume since May 4, when the conditional movement control order (MCO) was in force.
“The recovery MCO’s lifting of interstate travel (ban) will mean more vehicles plying our highways. We are prepared for the increase, which is expected to be between 10 per cent and 1 per cent per day, from the first weekend of the recovery MCO on June 12 to 14,” he said.
Datuk Azman also said PLUS had been regularly cleaning and sanitizing its R&R areas, lay-bys and toll plazas to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Public restrooms, he added, were opened with visible social distancing markings.
He said most food stalls and dining areas at rest stops along the highways would be reopened from June 15, and customers could enjoy dine-ins while adhering to the standard operating procedure.
“All food truck services will resume operations at R&R stations and lay-bys from June 15,” he added.
PLUS corporate, community and public engagement head Syed Mohammed Idid said their patrol units and traffic monitoring centers were all prepared for the expected high volume of traffic.
He said traffic would not immediately return to its usual volume before the MCO, which was about 1.7 million vehicles daily.
“We still anticipate there may be an increase in traffic as more people would prefer driving back to their hometowns as public transport options have to reduce the number of passengers for social distancing purposes and their tickets may be pricier during this time,” he added.
Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin, meanwhile, said the public must not revert to behavior before the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said queuing up at shopping malls, constantly washing hands, scanning QR codes or leaving personal contact details when entering shops were habits that needed to be inculcated.
“We all must adapt to this new normal to stop the spread of Covid-19 infection. Just because the government has introduced the recovery MCO, it does not mean our (Malaysians) work is done,” he added.
Comm Noor Azam said the public should continue avoiding crowded places, practise social distancing and always maintain proper hygiene.
“Even a simple act of shaking someone’s hand as a greeting should be replaced with a contactless greeting. These are all old habits that need to change,” he said adding, that the police force had also adapted to the new normal.
“For example, when dealing with sudden death cases, the investigating officers must wear personal protective equipment because they can’t tell if the victim had the virus.
“Bukit Aman has also released a standard operating procedure to handle detainees, including sanitizing the lock-ups and monitoring those who are asymptomatic,” he said.
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