KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will deploy the military from Sunday to assist police in enforcing a movement control order aimed at reining in the spread of COVID-19, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Friday (Mar 20).

All three branches of the military – the army, navy and air force – will be involved in the effort, said the defence forces chief.

The announcement follows curbs imposed on travel and businesses this week, as infections spiked to 900, with two dead.

The majority of cases have been linked to a gathering of 16,000 Muslim missionaries late last month.

The movement control order, which is in force for 14 days starting from Wednesday, involves the closure of all government and private premises except for those providing essential services.

READ: ‘Just stay at home’ – PM Muhyiddin to Malaysians amid movement control order

The minister had warned that military troops may be mobilised if Malaysians do not comply with the order. However, he said as of Thursday the government was still fully confident that the police were capable of enforcing it.

On Friday, Ismail Sabri told a press conference that police have reported an increase in the public’s adherence to the order, but added that many are still ignoring directions by the authorities.

“We hope the people will show a better compliance of the order,” he said, as he urged Malaysians not to question the authority of police and military personnel in safeguarding the safety of the nation.

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