There were slight incidences of panic and drama across the country as Malaysia prepared for its mandatory Movement Control Order to be in effect from March 18 to 31, 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Interstate travel confusion
Crowds of anxious locals stormed police stations in various districts in order to obtain a written police permit for interstate travel during the restriction period following earlier instructions made by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
The IGP had previously announced that the public must obtain permission from the authorities to travel from one state to another.
The order was later overturned after a huge hoard of people began overwhelming police stations nationwide.
Malaysians gathered in droves at the Southern Integrated Terminal (TBS) in Bandar Tasik Selatan in a scramble to rush back to their hometowns before the Movement Control Order went into effect.
Reportedly, the flock was made up by a majority of college and university students who were eager to get home after they were forced to leave their campuses due to the partial lockdown
Several images depicting the chaos at the terminal which some said resembled the usual mayhem during the festive season, went viral.
However, according to officials at TBS, a number of the pictures being spread online were fake while cautioned Malaysians to take necessary precautions and abide by instructions set by the authorities.
Panic buying, still
Malaysians were still seen queuing up at supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide in a bid to stock up on supplies for the two-week restriction period.
Reportedly essential supplies like rice, cooking oil, canned food, instant noodles and pasta, and a host of other items were flying off the shelves despite the public being allowed to do their grocery shopping even with the Movement Control Order In effect.
The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry urged all Malaysians to keep calm and be considerate of their spending to avoid wastage.
Congestion on the causeway
The Johor–Singapore Causeway connecting the two countries suffered gridlock traffic as citizens from both sides frantically rushed to cross the border.
Some people were even making the crossing on foot, carrying large suitcases and supplies along with them.
Apparently, a large number of Malaysians had made the decision to cross over and stay in Singapore so that they can still attend work.
With 673 recorded cases and its first reported casualties, Malaysia is, by far, the worst-hit country impacted by the Copid-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia.
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