Claims by certain quarters that the police have no power to arrest those who violate the Movement Control Order (MCO) is baseless, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Minister of Defence, said the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) clearly empowers the Minister of Health to appoint any person who is fit to implement the regulations.

He explained these include the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) involving enforcement throughout the country including the sea.

“Section 3.1 of Act 342 states that it is the power of the Minister of Health to appoint any officer, agency, including police, APM, APMM at sea and the like to carry out all matters relating to Act 342, including regulations.

"Section 3.2 states that an officer is authorized to act in his jurisdiction and duty as a civil servant, with all offences for disobeying a civil servant under this act and Section 186 of the Penal Code," he said in a daily press conference here today.

Yesterday, a portal reported a lawyer, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, as saying that the law underlying the enforcement of the rule did not allow police to make arrests.

He held that the arrests and detention by the police for the purpose of investigations were contrary to freedom as provided for under Article 5 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said 1,057 people were arrested yesterday for violating the MCO, with 906 arrested, of whom 622 individuals were charged in court while 151 others released on police bail.

In addition, he said 813 roadblocks were carried out involving 557,699 vehicles while 57,5,220 premises were inspected.