High Courts told to hear cases on MCO offences

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 07 Apr 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: All High Courts have been ordered to hear urgent judicial reviews or appeals on movement control order (MCO) offences in open court.

In an email from the Chief Registrar’s Office, it said that the Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim sought the cooperation of judges to immediately hear reviews or appeals filed by parties aggrieved with lower courts’ sentencing on MCO-related offences.

The email, signed by Chief Registrar Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh, was sent out to deputy and senior assistant registrars of High Courts nationwide yesterday.

As of April 2, 1,449 people have been charged for violating the MCO since it came into force on March 18. The second phase of the MCO, which began on April 1 and is expected to end on April 14, introduced a rule where a person not employed under essential-services could only move in a 10km radius.

Under Rule 3(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, a person caught and convicted of violating the MCO could be fined up to RM1,000 or jailed up to six months.

On Sunday, the judiciary said in a statement that all magistrates and Sessions Court judges should also consider the problem of overcrowding in jails in sentencing.

“Apart from considering sentences provided under existing laws, the risk of Covid-19 being spread into prisons must also be taken into account,” it said.

This follows a letter it received from the Prisons Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar, who asked the courts to stop jailing MCO offenders in a bid to avoid overcrowding in prisons.

He suggested for courts to mete out community service under the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act 1954 instead.

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