Emergency motion allowed to debate RM1k fine for compulsory face mask ruling

  • Nation
  • Monday, 17 Aug 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat has allowed an emergency motion to be debated on the issue of the RM1,000 fine for flouting the mask-wearing rule.

Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching) raised the motion under Order 18(1), calling for amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act to lower the fine.

"Since implementation of the ruling on Aug 1, there has been confusion over the definition of 'crowded public places' and uncertainty over enforcement," he said when raising the motion in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Aug 17).

He noted uncertainties over the definitions could give rise to selective punishment.

"The fine is also disproportionate and unfair, especially for the poor, students, disabled and those under the B40 category," added Dr Yii.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon confirmed receiving Dr Yii's notice to raise the emergency motion on Thursday (Aug 13).

"After considering the matter, I have decided that the motion fulfills the three criterias of it being a specific issue, of public interest and an urgent matter," he said.

Mohd Rashid said he allowed the motion to be debated at 2.30pm today (Aug 17) but at Parliament's Special Chambers.

On Sunday (Aug 16), Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was unlikely to amend the law to lower the fine.

He said such a move would be time consuming as the amendment needed to be tabled in Parliament for approval.

Ismail Sabri also said those who were penalised with the RM1,000 fine could appeal for a lower amount.

Last week, more than 70 lawmakers signed a petition, urging the government to reduce the fine of RM1,000 for those flouting the mandatory face mask rule.

The MPs suggested the fine be reduced to RM250.

From Aug 1, those in crowded areas, as well as in public transport, must wear a face mask or face a RM1,000 fine.

The ruling was enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19 following a surge in cases recently.

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