MIRI: The police and the local council authorities have said they do not benefit from any of the fines imposed on members of the public for violation of standard operating regulations pertaining to the control of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police Datuk Dev Kumar said the police help carry out enforcement rounds to the public at the request of the Health Department.
"We police only issue the compounds (to those caught violating the standard operating measures that are being imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19).
"We police do not collect the fines imposed on the members of the public on Covid-19 matters.
"Payment has to be made to the Health Department office at the districts, not to the police," he told The Star.
Miri Mayor Adam Yii also said the city council does not impose the fines or issue the compounds.
"With regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, we in the city council are only involved in educating the public in terms of the practice of social distancing, wearing face-mask and general hygiene.
"As for matters related to the violation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures, the compounds do not come from the city council," he said.
The Star asked DCP Dev and Yii on the matter, after receiving queries from several business operators here who were issued compounds that carried RM1,000 fine for not complying with the correct social-distancing requirements, temperature checks on customers and wearing of face masks by food-preparation crews.
Those issued with the compounds said the RM1,000 fines, even for first-time offenders, was hefty.
A small-scale food operator asked if the fine could be reduced.
DCP Dev said the penalty amount is not determined by the police.
"The amount of fine was not determined by us, so whether any discount can be given or not, we cannot say," he said.
A health department staff here, when asked on this, said it was the ministry that had set the RM1,000 fine.
"We carry out enforcement as directed.
"We get the help of the authorities like the police and local council to be more effective in our efforts to stop the spread of the pandemic," he said.
Sarawak is battling a second wave of Covid-19 infections in the southern half of the state in Kuching, Samarahan, Lundu and Serian districts.
There have been 19 deaths and 650 positive cases in the state so far.
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