GEORGE TOWN: A cardiologist in Penang is among dozens of Malaysians charged with defying the movement control order (MCO).
Dr Ong Hean Teik, 61, who challenged authorities at a park on the second day of the MCO and continued jogging, pleaded not guilty at a Magistrate’s Court here to two charges of obstructing public servants from discharging their duties.
He was charged with going to City Park along Jalan Persiaran Quarry at 4.45pm on March 19 without a valid reason as required under Rule 3(1) Prevention of Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the infected local areas) Regulations 2020.
If convicted, he faces a fine of up to RM1,000, a jail term of not more than six months or both.
He was also charged under the Penal Code with obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties at the same place at about 6pm on the same day.
The second offence is punishable with up to two years’ imprisonment, a maximum fine of RM10,000 or both, upon conviction.
Magistrate Jamaliah Abd Manap allowed bail at RM13,000 for both charges and ordered Ong to surrender his passport.
She also ordered him to report to the police station once a month and set June 9 for mention.
Dr Ong was represented by lawyer Bala Mahesan.
On March 19, Penang Island City Council enforcement officers spotted Dr Ong jogging at City Park and advised him to go home to observe the MCO.
Dr Ong questioned if the government and its officers were aware that the MCO was to prevent crowding and not to force people to stay indoors.
He was captured in a four-minute video clip arguing with the council workers that the MCO was not an indoor curfew.
In another case in the same court, seven men who were caught playing football and jogging in a field were fined RM1,000 each with three months of community service for breaching the MCO.
The seven admitted to committing the offence at 5.15pm on March 26 at a field off Jalan DS Ramanathan in Pulau Tikus.
Jamaliah ordered them to serve the three-month community service in lieu of three months’ jail.
Another 13 men are expected to be charged for a similar offence at the Magistrate’s Court today.
In Seremban, three individuals, including two juveniles, were charged separately at the Magistrate’s Court for violating the MCO.
In the first case, welder S. Chandramogan, 35, who pleaded guilty, was fined RM1,000 in default four months’ jail.
He committed the offence at 1.15am on March 27 along Jalan Rantau-Air Kuning.
Magistrate V. Vanita also fined Chandramogan another RM1,500 in default four months’ jail for failing to produce his identity card when stopped by authorities at the same place and time.
The juveniles, both 17, also pleaded guilty to voluntarily obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties in enforcing the MCO.
Both were released on RM1,000 bail each pending a report from the Welfare Department.
The court then fixed May 20 for remention.
In Johor Baru, 47 individuals were jailed for 10 days and fined RM500 in default two months’ jail by the Magistrate’s Court.
Aged between 20 and 65, they pleaded guilty before magistrate Mohd Zulhilmi Ibrahim.
They had defied the MCO by moving from one place to another, aside from questioning the authority of the police, before they were arrested. They were arrested between March 20 and March 28.
All were unrepresented.
One of them, Perbargaran Mohd Ali, 27, was jailed for 20 days and fined RM5,000 for obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties.
In Kota Kinabalu, nine youths playing sepak takraw and a farmer involved in a cock-fighting match were among 40 people arrested under the MCO in the state.Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Zaini Jass said the youths were caught playing sepak takraw in Sabah’s central Telupid district on Sunday while a 58-year-old farmer was caught at a cock-fighting ring, but some others there escaped.