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Plan to travel interstate? You must apply for permission via Gerak Malaysia

[ UPDATE 26/04/2020 20:00 ]: Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified that the government has yet to provide a green light for the 1st to 3rd May travel dates. Cabinet approval is required before interstate travel is allowed. More details here.

[ UPDATE 25/4/2020 14:00 ] The Royal Malaysia Police has announced that interstate travel between hometowns and the city will be permitted between 1-3 May. More details here.

[ UPDATE 23/4/2020 17:00 ] Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has reiterated that balik kampung is not allowed during Ramadhan. The announcement is meant for those stuck at hometowns wanting to return to the city. More details here.

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Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced today that those that want to travel between states may apply for permission starting this Friday via the Gerak Malaysia app. Before the movement control order was imposed on 18th March, many have left the Klang Valley to return back to their respective home towns.

At today’s press conference, the minister said that the government is aware that some have been staying at their home towns for over a month, and they want to return back to the city. Similarly, there are those that want to travel back to the home towns.

He shared that the government is also aware of the number of students that are staying at their respective campuses. The health status and well being of students at campuses are being monitored during the MCO. However, for those that are at home towns, they are scattered everywhere and it is hard to keep track of the numbers. Before the movement between states is allowed, it is important that the government can estimate the number of people that plan to travel so that they can plan ahead.

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For students, a bus can be arranged to transport them but for the rest, they will have to do so with their own mode of transport. Therefore, they would urge everyone that plan to travel interstate to report to the police for permission before travelling.

Those that intend to travel may apply for permission online via the Gerak Malaysia app starting from 25th April 2020. The Senior Minister said that the app is a collaboration between the Royal Malaysia Police and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

He said applicants must submit their name, the number of family members and other travel details such as origin and destination. This would help the government to track population movement especially if people are crossing between green, yellow and red zones.

For those who can’t register through their smartphones, they may report themselves at their nearest police station. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the district police station and they may do so at any police stations. Similar to the app application, applicants must also provide their personal details and travel info. To avoid overcrowding, the public is urged to make an appointment via telephone before they walk in.

The Senior Minister admits that the implementation is still in its early stage and he estimates that movement may be permitted only after 1st May. The government is still studying the situation and there are no guarantees for now as they will have to look into reports by the police on the applications submitted after 25th April. Once they know the number of people that want to travel interstate, they will have to evaluate the pros and cons, and consult with the Ministry of Health before making a decision.

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The Gerak Malaysia is a COVID-19 contact tracing app developed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission with the support of telcos. It uses location tracking by GPS to track the movement of people in the background. Shortly after it was revealed, the National Security Council clarified that the app has not been endorsed. With this latest development, it appears that the app will be utilised as a movement tracing tool during the MCO.

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Alexander Wong