‘Police action aimed at stopping spread of virus’

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 05 Apr 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s not wise to question enforcement action by police during the movement control order (MCO) period as the ultimate goal is to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission, says Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed (pic).

The Bukit Aman CID director said action by the police, including detaining MCO violators, had been in accordance with the law.

“During the first phase of the MCO, we repeatedly advised people to stay home, but many failed to adhere to the rule.

“We then started to take firmer action by detaining those who flouted the MCO as we were thinking of the bigger picture of stopping the spread of the virus,” he said in a special interview in Bukit Aman yesterday.

He was responding to criticisms by individuals and NGOs on recent police action against MCO violators.

On those who criticised the police for putting violators in lock-ups, where they might spread the virus further, he said the police had a strict standard operating procedure that followed Health Ministry’s guidelines, including social distancing and wearing face masks.“We also did not bring detainees to courts for remand as court officials have agreed to go to the respective police stations,” he said.The police were also aware of comments made by a man regarding the arrest of 24 Catholic seminarians in Penang for playing football during the MCO, he said.

“The same person also questioned police action on the woman who called the police ‘idiots’ (in Petaling Jaya) and posted a video on 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.

Since the start of the MCO on March 18, 5,126 people had been arrested, he said, adding that 2,294 of them had been prosecuted.

Comm Huzir said the police had accepted the government’s policy in issuing compounds to those who breached the MCO as it was in accordance with Section 25 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.But police are still waiting for the official decision on the matter. If issuing compounds meant higher compliance with the MCO, then it might be the best action, he added.

“But if the people still defy the order, detaining and prosecuting the violators will be maintained,” Comm Huzir said, noting that the summons is under the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry, similar to that for smokers.

On another matter, he said police were looking for a man and a woman in connection with viral recordings of fake information warning the public of a full 10-day lockdown, causing public unrest and panic buying.

Those who recognise the voices are urged to contact the Bukit Aman CID’s Special Investigation Unit at 03-2266 6179 or the unit’s head Supt Fazley Abd Rahman at 012-383 7767.

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