SANDAKAN, Sept 11 — There has been no directive from the Federal Government to close night markets, weekly ‘tamu’, wholesale markets, fruit stalls and open stalls in Tawau, says Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the local authority had no power to shut down any locality or premises without any instruction from the central government.

He was asked to comment on the action taken by the Tawau Municipal Council (MPT) to order premises in the district to be closed following the enforcement of the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) at the Tawau Prison.

“This (order to close the premises) is not appropriate, and only invites panic among the community in the area.

“This is wrong, it cannot be done because the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) can only be issued by the central government and not local authorities or the state government,” he told reporters after visiting the 22nd Battalion Royal Malay Regiment Sri Kinabatangan Camp here today.

He explained that all SOPs issued will be gazetted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) which is under the purview of the Federal government.

“Currently, the EMCO is done based on the locality.. the Tawau Prison is subject to the EMCO, there is no need to close schools or mosques or markets or other premises outside the prison area,” he added.

The EMCO was enforced at the Tawau Prison from midnight last night until Sept 25 after the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the prison jumped to three digits.

Today, the Tawau Municipal Council was reported to have issued a notice on the closure of all night markets, weekly ‘tamu’, wholesale markets, fruit stalls and open stalls in the district.


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