Lockdown rules apply to everyone – even those in high positions


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 16 May 2020

PETALING JAYA: As Malaysians and most other people around the world face movement controls due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the various governments are also having to heed their own restrictions.

As the movement control order (MCO) here and lockdowns elsewhere continue, albeit with certain relaxations, the antics of those holding positions of power breaking the rules have caught the eye.

United Kingdom’s epidemiologist Dr Neil Ferguson resigned from his post in the government on May 5 after disobeying the lockdown rules he had helped draw up.

He was visited twice by a woman who was believed to be his lover during the country’s lockdown.

In New Zealand, Health Minister David Clark was demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings after violating lockdown regulations by driving his family to a beach 20km from his home. New Zealanders were only allowed to go out to purchase essential supplies and exercise in their local area during the country’s level 4 lockdown.

Clark was reported to have offered to resign but this was turned down by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern to avoid disruption in the health sector amid a pandemic.

In India, two top Indian Administrative Service officers were suspended and two more faced action in New Delhi for violating the country’s lockdown order.

There were no details on the violations.

In Scotland, Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood resigned after breaching the lockdown rules.

She was seen visiting her family twice at their coastal holiday retreat 70km away from her home in Edinburgh.

“While there are reasons for what I did, they do not justify it and they were not legitimate reasons to be out of my home, ” she said in her apology.

Many other government officials such as in the Philippines and South Africa are facing charges for breaking the rules of their country’s lockdown.

On the ground level, violators in Saudi Arabia risk fines of up to 50,000 riyal (RM57,600), while those out in the streets in India get beaten with sticks by their police.

Filipinos have been warned that they could even be shot dead for causing trouble, while West Bengal has arrested over 40,000 people over lockdown violations since March 25.

In Malaysia, action has also been taken against prominent personalities for breaching the MCO, with Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reminding that “no one is above the law”.

Recently, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, Perak executive councillor Razman Zakaria and 13 others pleaded guilty to breaching the SOP in place by the MCO by attending a lunch gathering at a tahfiz in Lenggong on April 17. They were each ordered to pay a fine of RM1,000.

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar was also questioned by the police for attending a gathering last month.

On May 6, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s daughter Datuk Nurulhidayah and her husband Datuk Saiful Nizam Mohd Yusoff were fined RM800 each by a Magistrate’s Court for going to a ministry for a meeting during the MCO.

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