With the restricted movement order in effect from now until the 31st of March, many Malaysians are hopefully staying at home to avoid exposing themselves to COVID-19. Some of you may be curious as to what the roads look like with forced work-from-home in effect, and we decided to drive around the Klang Valley to look at the traffic conditions.
While we don’t recommend doing this (you really shouldn’t be out and about), we took precautions and made sure we didn’t stop unnecessarily along the way. You can’t be a cause of transmission or transmit if you’re not actually coming into contact with surfaces or people that could be carrying the virus.
Brickfields still seemed to have a couple of cars strewn around at the edges, but while you normally expect traffic to be bumper to bumper, we instead found nearly nothing in our way. Streets, sidewalks, and businesses were empty as well with the exception of essentials like banks and post offices.
Heading into town, we drove past Central Market and hardly had to stop at a single traffic light as traffic was so smooth. It’s a little strange seeing this part of town so empty – even during our infamous long holidays, numerous businesses are still open and tourists are definitely out and about, but not so with this Restricted Movement Order in place.
Even the main intersection between Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang was incredibly empty for what was effectively weekday lunch rush prime time. Traffic that built up at the lights were just three cars deep instead of the 15 to 20 car queues we’re used to seeing.
Heading onwards to MRR2, apart from minor choke points entering and exiting the highway we found significantly reduced traffic volume. There were still enough cars to occupy all three lanes on the ring road, but you could maintain a decent cruising speed and good distance from the cars ahead and next to you rather than the mad-dash stop start scramble you normally find.
We took a quick detour to take a look at the Gombak toll as there were reports of jams and traffic build up last night as many people panicked that the order may stop them from going back to their kampungs completely. By midday today, there were still a few cars heading out onto Karak highway and coming back into the Klang Valley, but far from the traffic you normally see during balik kampong periods.
Another infamous point we ran through was the interchange along the MRR2 which connects Bandar Sri Damansara, DUKE 2, and the LDP. This incredible example of awful road planning usually has five lanes of cars trying to squeeze into two – weekday or weekend. Today it was as smooth as you could hope for.
Passing the Kepong toll, we were now back in prime territory for traffic – the various Damansaras along the LDP are notorious for feeding and taking high volumes of cars. Again, with most businesses being forced to stay shut, a significant reduction in traffic was the result.
While it’s great and easy to get around the Klang Valley and many other parts of the country right now, it’s a sober reminder that our country is going to go through a pretty tough time – and with a little hope and determination we can definitely pull through as a country. As long as everyone does their part, we can beat COVID-19 and get through whatever 2020 is going to throw at us.