Cops: Sorry, no more excuses

Tight leash: Police and army personnel checking motorists at an MCO roadblock. — MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

IPOH: Lame excuses such as forgetting to bring a face mask or claiming using one was suffocating will no longer be tolerated.

Authorities in several states noted the public have let down their guard and they are coming down hard on those who fail to follow standard operating procedure (SOP) under the recovery movement control order (MCO).

Perak deputy police chief Comm Datuk Goh Boon Keng said there were those who wrongly assumed they were safe in Perak because there were no Covid-19 clusters there.

“They go to public places thinking their friends and families have no symptoms of the illness, so they feel safe and refuse to follow the SOP,” he said.

Comm Goh said they also think they would not be caught or try to play “hide and seek” with the police.

And when they are caught, they offer all sorts of excuses, he said.

“They would say they forgot to bring along their face masks and plead to be given a chance,” he said.

Comm Goh noted there were some 500 police teams deployed in the state to monitor SOP compliance and as many as 100 summonses have been issued in a single day.

Ipoh city councillor Dr Richard Ng said local authorities could withdraw licences of recalcitrant business operators.

He noted some operators interpreted the SOP differently, creating confusion due to the directives given by different authorities.

“We notice that business operators, especially eateries, do not strictly adhere to temperature taking, getting the people to scan the MySejahtera QR code or to wear the face mask, maybe because of the increased cost in hiring staff to enforce compliance. Also, the operators are not concerned until the police arrive,” he added.

Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said many claimed they found it hard to breathe while wearing a face mask but they were being selfish.

Those flouting the SOP were jeopardising their lives and those around them, he said.

He said Johor police had arrested 4,437 individuals for not following the SOP since the start of the MCO on March 18.

The number of those charged in court for breaking the rules during the MCO until Sept 14 stood at 3,660.

“Police have also issued compounds to 1,652 people between May 24 and Monday,” said Ayob.

Meanwhile, police in Melaka said they were mostly satisfied with the level of SOP compliance among locals.

State crime prevention and community safety department chief Asst Comm Beh Eng Lai noted that even food outlets are following set operating hours and social distancing among diners.

However some eatery owners have failed to get staff to take temperatures of customers or leave it to the public to take and record their own temperatures in books at the entrance of the outlet.

“We are continuing to create awareness on this especially at outlets in rural areas,” he said.

ACP Beh said there were also cases where customers had provided false temperature readings when entering eateries.

“This lackadaisical attitude on the part of the owner can cause serious repercussions,” he said.

ACP Beh added that Melaka police would continue to ensure locals were aware of the dos and don’ts during the MCO.

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