MCO: Students, you can go home again, starting April 27

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob 

 The Star Online: Students stranded on campuses can begin their journey back home from next Monday (April 27) onwards, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

However, this is only applicable to students whose family homes are located in green zones, he said.

He added that the traveling period for these students would be only from 9 pm to 9 am to ensure a controlled journey and to avoid mass movement while the movement control order (MCO), extended to May 12, is in force.

“The movement of students will be done in stages and would only involve those in green zones.

“Students involved will have to undergo screening for symptoms before boarding the buses and will be provided with food and face masks.

“The number of students will also be halved, meaning if the bus can accommodate 40 people, there will only be 20 as we want to ensure social distancing rules are complied with, ” said Ismail in his daily briefing on Friday (April 24).

He added that these students will be taken to their respective district police station or the district office nearest their houses, and will be sent home by front liners from various government agencies.

Students who have their own vehicles are allowed to drive on their own – however, in this situation, no interstate travel would be allowed.

“If a person studies in Selangor and wants to return to their home in the same state, then they can get permission from the police as well as their campuses and drive on their own.

“They are not allowed to bring other people with them; they must drive home on their own, ” he said.

Students from Sabah and Sarawak will be flown to the nearest airport, said Ismail, who is also Defence Minister.

He said these students must then undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine as imposed by their state governments unless the standard operating procedure (SOP) there is changed.

He said only 85% of those in higher learning institutions or around 53,000 students have agreed to go home, while the remaining 15% said they wanted to stay back.

In his briefing, however, he did not say how these numbers were derived.

“Some campuses are providing online courses, some students may be sitting for their exams, or some may feel they would not be able to study back in their kampung (village) because they don’t have Internet access.

“So these students who choose to stay back will be taken care of, and the government will continue to provide them with food, ” he added.

Ismail said these were among the SOPs that were proposed by Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad and agreed upon in the special meetings held daily among ministers.

He also said there were some higher learning institutions that are under other ministries, such as the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and the Education Ministry.

However, the SOPs will be the same as the ones set by the Higher Education Ministry.

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