Malaysian Health Ministry proposes interstate travel be postponed for Raya

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – The Malaysian Health Ministry has proposed that interstate travel be postponed for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri, as daily COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Speaking after a ministry event yesterday, Health Minister Adham Baba said the proposal to put off approval for interstate travel was due to two reasons.

“One, there are new variants of COVID-19 in the community. Two, the vaccination programme is still ongoing, so we need to control the situation,” he said.

He noted that many parties have appealed to the government to permit interstate travel for this major festival.

On whether exceptions could be made for those who have completed their vaccination, Dr Adham said the ministry was still waiting for findings from the World Health Organization and the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If the ministry’s proposal to halt cross-state travel for the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations is accepted, this will be the second year running that Malaysians will not be able to return to their hometowns for the festive season.

People walk past the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur

Earlier yesterday, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin said those living apart from their sick or aged parents or grandparents would be allowed to return home to accompany the latter for their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for Malaysia’s COVID-19 immunisation programme, gave an example of a man working in Kuala Lumpur and returning to his hometown in Negeri Sembilan to escort his aged or sick parents, or other dependents to go for their vaccination appointments.

In such instances, they would only have to show proof of the relevant medical appointments in order to be cleared for interstate travel.

Private interstate travel has not been allowed since the reimposition of Malaysia’s second Movement Control Order, or MCO 2.0 back in January this year, following a surge in cases.