KUALA LUMPUR: It is not wise to question enforcement actions by the police during the movement control order (MCO) as the ultimate goal is to break the chain of Covid-19 infections, says Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed.
The Bukit Aman CID director said actions by the police, including detaining those who violated the MCO, have been in accordance with the law.
"During the first phase of the MCO, we advised people to stay home numerous times, but many still failed to adhere to it.
"We then began to take firmer action and detain those who flout the MCO as we are thinking of the bigger picture to stop the spread of the virus," he said in a special interview in Bukit Aman on Saturday (April 4).
He was responding to criticism over recent police action against MCO violators.
"While we respect the rights of individuals, our priority is society as a whole.
"Our mandate is safety and public interest – which is to save as many lives as possible," Comm Huzir said.
On further criticism that putting violators in lock-ups could spread the virus further, Comm Huzir said the police have strict standard operating procedures in place in accordance with Health Ministry guidlines in handling detainees, including social distancing and use of face masks.
"We have even taken proactive measures by not taking detainees to courts for remand as court officials agreed to go to the respective police stations for the remand process.
"This will lessen movement of the detainees and prevent social contact," he said.
He added that police were also aware of recent comments by an individual over the arrests of 24 seminary students for playing football during the MCO.
"The same person also questioned action on the woman who called the police "idiots" (in Petaling Jaya). He also posted a video of a group of people doing push-ups on a rooftop.
"We will call him up to record his statement and let the court decide on the appropriate action against him," he said.
He added that the woman's own lawyer had also claimed that the punishment for MCO offenders was too harsh.
"We remind such people to support us in the fight to stop the spread of the virus.
"NGOs too should support us as our priority is always public safety and security," Comm Huzir said.
Since the start of the MCO, 5,126 people have been arrested, he added.
"From those arrested, a total of 2,294 people have been prosecuted," Comm Huzir said.
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