Coronavirus: Malaysian military to help enforce order for people to stay at home from Sunday

Empty streets near the Petronas Towers during a lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 18, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will deploy its military from Sunday (March 22) to help police enforce the government's order for people to stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri told a news conference on Friday that the decision was made at a national emergency meeting to have the military assist the police with the Restriction of Movement Order.

"The military will be deployed from Sunday. We are confident that with help from the military, the control order will be better implemented. And we hope the people will continue to comply with the government's instructions," he said.

He added that many Malaysians were still flouting the order by eating out and taking their families to parks, despite warnings to disperse by police.

He said that in the first few days, the police will advise the public to comply with the order.

"After that we will not compromise, and will take action according to the law."

He also warned the public not to spread fake news.

On Thursday, several audio recordings were shared on WhatsApp alleging that the Defence Minister would announce an emergency order after obtaining the King's consent, he said.

"I don't intend to do that… So please do not believe in such fake news."

Except for essential services such as supermarkets, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies which will remain open, schools, offices, parks and places of worship are to be shut from Wednesday until March 31 under the Restriction of Movement Order as Malaysia steps up its effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with infections jumping to 900 and two dead as of Thursday.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.