Students at local campuses may be allowed to return, subject to strict SOPs, says Ismail Sabri

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The government may allow students stranded in campuses to return home.

However, strict standard operating procedures (SOP) must be followed.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government understands the concerns of parents and students who have been on campuses for about a month.

“We discussed and sought advice from the Health Ministry, and there may be a possibility of allowing the students to return home but we want to have a strict SOP.

“This is because we do not want to have about 80,000 to 100,000 students returning at one go.

“We may also need them to undergo a health screening first before allowing them to return to their homes,” he said in his daily briefings on Tuesday (April 21).

The Defence Minister also said that the matter will be discussed with the Higher Education Ministry.

Ismail Sabri said the details of the SOP will also be reviewed thoroughly to avoid mass movement of students.

“We don’t want a lot of movement (of people) because imagine if these students start returning to their hometowns, in buses, or stopping over at rest areas, there will be a lot of movement and we want to avoid all that,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the government will also seek advice from the Health Ministry to see if other Malaysians, who are stuck in their hometowns since the movement control order (MCO) came in force, could return to the cities, where they worked.

“I know some people who have been in their kampung (village) for more than one month are getting restless, so we will look into this as well,” he added.

On a separate issue, Ismail Sabri also urged organisers of Ramadan bazaars to return the deposit of traders.

He hoped that organisers of such bazaars will not take advantage of other people’s misfortune.

“For example, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has returned the payment made to stall owners who registered with them for the bazaars.

“Or, some have even allowed the deposits to be brought forward for next year’s bazaars.

“So, I urge that organisers, be it local councils or others, to return the money paid by traders,” he added.

Earlier this month, Ismail Sabri announced that Ramadan bazaars will not be allowed while the MCO is in force.

Ramadan is expected to fall on April 24.

Ismail Sabri said that if there is no extension to the MCO, the National Security Council will come up with a post-MCO SOP.

Several states such as Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Terengganu have cancelled all annual Ramadan bazaars in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Star

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