PETALING JAYA: The people are reminded to adhere to the instructions by the authorities on the movement control order as the fine for those who violate them will be increased to RM10,000 from next Tuesday.
Legal experts have welcomed the move by the authorities to increase the fines for repeat offenders of the MCO under the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021.
Senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan said the current law stated that the maximum amount was RM1,000.
“This is inadequate, especially when the authorities are dealing with repeat and recalcitrant offenders, ” he said yesterday.
However, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said that the maximum fine under the amended Emergency Ordinance would not be used without basis.
He said that the punishment under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 could be appealed.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said that RM10,000 compound would only
be imposed on individuals who violate the MCO repeatedly, as well as those who trigger the spread of Covid-19.
He explained that the government’s decision to increase the compound from RM1,000 to RM10,000 was not for all offences related to violations of SOP.
Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir said the public needed to know the exact guidelines that categorises the severity and degree of the culpability and the likelihood amount of fines that would be imposed on offenders.
“Failure to specify it in writing, as part of regulations under the Act, will lead to a concern of arbitrary discretions in deciding the amounts of fine between individuals, ” he said, adding that clear guidelines should be provided to the authorities imposing the compounds to offenders.
Alliance for Safe and Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said although authorities had indicated that the public could appeal, they would have to go through several processes that could be deemed as burdensome.
“Perhaps the government can come up with a clear device or system when they want to fine offenders, ” he added.
The new Section 25 of the Emergency Ordinance reads that the director-general or any authorised officer may compound any offence under the Act to individuals who violate the regulations of up to RM10,000.
It also states that companies or corporations can be fined up to RM50,000 for violating the same regulations.
The ordinance also includes amendments to general penalties under Section 24, noting that any person who commits an offence under the Act, “for which no penalty is expressly provided”, may be fined up to RM100,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of seven years.