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 Local

Round-the-clock roadblocks by police in Kota Kinabalu

20th March, 2020

By JONATHAN NICHOLAS

KOTA KINABALU: Police initiate citywide round-the-clock roadblocks aimed at warning obstinate individuals who go against the Movement Control Order until the end of the two week period.

Personnel are working eight-hour shifts to pull over those travelling in groups. Most of their excuses, according to one officer, would be to go out for groceries.

But this does not hold up as a person or a single pair is sufficient for a trip to the store to provide for whole families.

“We are taking a diplomatic approach with advice and warnings first;” said City police chief ACP Habibi Majinji during a 10pm roadblock along Jalan Kepayan on Wednesday.

“This is so the public does not see the partial lockdown as an opportunity for joyrides. We have increased the numbers of roadblocks at major roadways in the city and patrols on playgrounds, night spots and restaurants.

“It is a way to engage the community and observe if they are complying to the stay-at-home rule.

“Individuals with traffic infractions will be issued summons as usual.”

Earlier at 8am, police, in line with directives from the Prime Minister, set up a special 24-hour operations room aimed at monitoring everything COVID-19 related.

Integrated operations with City Hall were later carried out to see if eateries ran business as usual despite the mandatory order.

Habibi said although not many, there were still some headstrong shop owners openly serving food to the public.

“We gave them a warning and if any still refuse to comply, we may proceed with arrests under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing a civil servant from carrying out their duties or for any applicable charges.”

He said his officers and personnel are well equipped with face masks and hand sanitisers so they would not be agents of the virus themselves.

Meanwhile, he strongly urged the public against using social media as a platform to spread fake news which may incite public discord.

“Don’t be going around posting or forwarding any unverified statements in relation to the coronavirus. Police will take action under 505(b) for public mischief,” he said.

This was his quick dismissal after being asked the authenticity of a chain message spread on WhatsApp the same day saying that Pulau Gaya has been scheduled as a Red Zone and its infected inhabitants freely roaming the city.

   
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